With new leadership in the White House, America’s foreign enemies are testing the resolve of the Biden administration to see what will or will not elicit a response.
An instance of this testing occurred Monday when armed Iranian speedboats approached U.S. warships transiting the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf, resulting in two volleys of warning shots to dissuade further engagement, Military.com reported.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui, a patrol boat escorting the guided-missile submarine USS Georgia, fired warning rounds from a machine gun after a pair of armed speedboats, believed to be operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), approached to as close as 150 yards.
Warning shots fired
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday, “After following all the appropriate and established procedures involving ships: horn blast, bridge-to-bridge radio transmissions and other ways of communicating, the [U.S.] Coast Guard Cutter Maui … fired approximately 30 warning shots from a .50-caliber machine gun. After the second round of warning shots, the 13 fast-attack craft from the IRGCN broke contact.”
“Harassment by the IRGC Navy is not a new phenomenon,” he continued. “It is something that all our commanding officers and crews of our vessels are trained … for when serving in the Central Command area of responsibility, particularly in and around the Gulf.”
“Our commanding officers and crew of our ships — they have the right of self-defense and they know how to use that right,” Kirby said.
“They have the means at their disposal to defend their ships and their crews and they also, as I think we’ve seen now in this second incident, are very stringent about following the proper procedures for providing warnings: verbally first, and then if need be, through the use of warning shots to try to change or mitigate the Iranian behavior,” he added.
First such incident in four years
That “second incident” Kirby spoke of was most likely one that occurred on April 26, when a U.S. warship fired warning shots at Iranian vessels that had approached a U.S. formation of ships in international waters in the Persian Gulf, according to the Daily Mail.
That incident was reportedly the first one to involve any shooting in the past four years. It also followed another close call in early April when several Iranian boats had approached and crossed directly in front of two Coast Guard patrol boats, though no shots were required to warn those vessels away from the American ships.
Included in the submarine’s escort during the incident Monday was the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey. Just a day earlier, the cruiser had intercepted an unflagged ship in the northern Arabian Sea loaded with a cache of various arms and weapons that were believed to have been sent by Iran to supply the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.
Illicit arms shipments are bad, mmmkay?
— David B. Larter (@DavidLarter) May 9, 2021
Iran denied any involvement in the Monday incident and accused Kirby of making “false and unrealistic allegations” about what had occurred, The Hill reported.