Daily Revolt

January 09, 2008

Bush Castigates Iran, Calling Naval Confrontation ‘Provocative Act’

A late Christmas gift to the President from the Iranians:
President Bush chastised Iran on Tuesday for committing a “provocative act” by confronting United States Navy warships in the Persian Gulf over the weekend. The Pentagon released video showing Iranian speedboats maneuvering around the American convoy.

“We viewed it as a provocative act,” Mr. Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden, just hours before he left for a weeklong trip to the Middle East. “It is a dangerous situation, and they should not have done it, pure and simple.”

The episode took place Sunday in the strategic Strait of Hormuz and was initially described by American officials on Monday. They said five armed Iranian speedboats approached three United States Navy warships in international waters, then maneuvered aggressively as radio threats were issued that the American ships would be blown up.

The confrontation ended without shots fired or injuries.

The video runs just over four minutes and, according to Pentagon officials, was shot from the bridge of the guided missile destroyer Hopper. It supported the American version of events, by showing Iranian speedboats maneuvering around and among the Navy warships, quite close to the convoy.

“I am coming to you,” a heavily accented voice says in English. “You will explode after a few minutes.”

Navy officials said the voice was recorded from the internationally recognized bridge-to-bridge radio channel.

An American sailor then is heard repeating the threat, stating, “He says, ‘You will explode after a few minutes.’” The American is also heard identifying the Navy vessel as a “coalition warship” and announcing: “I am engaged in transit passage in accordance with international law. I intend no harm.”

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