The Persian Gulf has seen plenty of conflict — and events in that region could bring even more tension, if a recent altercation between an Iranian ship and the U.S. Navy is any indication.
On Monday, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard “fast attack craft” approached a U.S. guided missile destroyer and came within 1,000 yards of the American vessel. Information about the incident was not released by the Navy until the following day.
According to Fox News, the Iranian attack ship had its weapons manned and ready. In response to the encroaching threat, the USS Mahan manned its own weapons and fired off warning flares.
That flare signal was apparently enough for the foreign ship to get the message and keep its distance.
“Coming inbound at a high rate of speed like that and manning weapons, despite clear warnings from the ship, is obviously provocative behavior,” explained a U.S. spokesperson regarding the incident.
It wasn’t the first time that the USS Mahan was forced to fire flares or warning shots to urge an Iranian ship back off. In January, the same American vessel fired warning shots from its .50 caliber machine gun to get the attention of four different craft that were coming too close.
Like Russia and Syria, it appears that Iran is testing the limits of America’s military patience under a new president. After eight years of unenforced “red lines” and vague talk from Barack Obama, many opponents are trying to decide where they stand under President Donald Trump.
The U.S. Navy has showed restraint with these provocations — for now.
If Iran is not careful, the next response from America’s fleet may not be so gentle as a warning flare.