Iranian patrol boats come within 300 yards of US destroyer

CNN is reporting that four Iranian naval vessels conducted a "high speed intercept" of an American guided missile destroyer in international waters near the Straits of Hormuz, coming within 300 yards of the U.S. ship despite numerous warnings.

The incident is being characterized as "unsafe and unprofessional."

The official said two of the vessels slowed and turned away only after coming within 300 yards of the US guided-missile destroyer as it transited international waters near the Strait of Hormuz, and only after the destroyer had sent multiple visual and audio warnings.

The incident is only the latest in a series of all-too-close encounters with Iran in the region since December. These brushes have included Iranian rocket launches, drones flying over US vessels and the capture of US sailors in January. They come against the backdrop of renewed US diplomatic contacts with Iran, which has triggered a political backlash among Iranian hardliners, including the powerful IRGC.

In the wake of Tuesday's incident, the Nitze and US Naval Forces Central Command have determined that the Iranian vessels were violating international law and maritime standards, acting dangerously and unprofessionally.

The Iranian vessels moved at high speed toward the Nitze, which was operating in accordance with international law in international waters and ignored maritime "rules of the road" as set out in the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. According to the Navy official, the IRGC vessels ignored multiple warnings, creating a dangerous, harassing environment that could have pushed the Nitze to take defensive measures, escalating the situation.

The US Naval Forces Central Command is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area that stretches from the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, parts of the Indian Ocean and 20 countries.

Tuesday's encounter took place as the Nitze and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason were conducting what the official said was a routine transit near the internationally recognized strait. The official spoke to CNN anonymously to discuss military matters.

The four IRGC vessels approached at high speed. After identifying them, the Nitze tried 12 times to make contact by radio without receiving a response, according to the Navy official. As two of the Iranian vessels continued to barrel toward the Nitze at high speed, the destroyer used an internationally recognized maritime danger signal three times.

I've got news for CNN: the Revolutionary Guards don't lift a finger without permission from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.  They're his boys and are not independent actors in Iranian politics.

The idea that this was some kind of rogue operation by the IRGC is absurd.  It is, as the other incidents that Iran has engineered, a message aimed at both the U.S. and our allies in the region: America is a paper tiger. 

Iran is fully aware that Barack Obama won't do anything to risk his precious legacy: the nuclear deal.  So Iran will continue to push us, humiliate us, and challenge us until Obama is hiding under the bed, hoping the deal will last until he leaves office.  Then, if it goes south, he can always blame his successor.

It will be left to the next president to do a little message-sending of our own. 

CNN is reporting that four Iranian naval vessels conducted a "high speed intercept" of an American guided missile destroyer in international waters near the Straits of Hormuz, coming within 300 yards of the U.S. ship despite numerous warnings.

The incident is being characterized as "unsafe and unprofessional."

The official said two of the vessels slowed and turned away only after coming within 300 yards of the US guided-missile destroyer as it transited international waters near the Strait of Hormuz, and only after the destroyer had sent multiple visual and audio warnings.

The incident is only the latest in a series of all-too-close encounters with Iran in the region since December. These brushes have included Iranian rocket launches, drones flying over US vessels and the capture of US sailors in January. They come against the backdrop of renewed US diplomatic contacts with Iran, which has triggered a political backlash among Iranian hardliners, including the powerful IRGC.

In the wake of Tuesday's incident, the Nitze and US Naval Forces Central Command have determined that the Iranian vessels were violating international law and maritime standards, acting dangerously and unprofessionally.

The Iranian vessels moved at high speed toward the Nitze, which was operating in accordance with international law in international waters and ignored maritime "rules of the road" as set out in the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. According to the Navy official, the IRGC vessels ignored multiple warnings, creating a dangerous, harassing environment that could have pushed the Nitze to take defensive measures, escalating the situation.

The US Naval Forces Central Command is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area that stretches from the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, parts of the Indian Ocean and 20 countries.

Tuesday's encounter took place as the Nitze and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason were conducting what the official said was a routine transit near the internationally recognized strait. The official spoke to CNN anonymously to discuss military matters.

The four IRGC vessels approached at high speed. After identifying them, the Nitze tried 12 times to make contact by radio without receiving a response, according to the Navy official. As two of the Iranian vessels continued to barrel toward the Nitze at high speed, the destroyer used an internationally recognized maritime danger signal three times.

I've got news for CNN: the Revolutionary Guards don't lift a finger without permission from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.  They're his boys and are not independent actors in Iranian politics.

The idea that this was some kind of rogue operation by the IRGC is absurd.  It is, as the other incidents that Iran has engineered, a message aimed at both the U.S. and our allies in the region: America is a paper tiger. 

Iran is fully aware that Barack Obama won't do anything to risk his precious legacy: the nuclear deal.  So Iran will continue to push us, humiliate us, and challenge us until Obama is hiding under the bed, hoping the deal will last until he leaves office.  Then, if it goes south, he can always blame his successor.

It will be left to the next president to do a little message-sending of our own.