Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, on April 25 reportedly said that Tehran closely watches US’ activities but would never initiate a conflict in the region. The Shiite leader’s remark comes just a day after Revolutionary Guards chief warned its long time foe Washington of “decisive response” from Tehran if they harm Iran’s war boats. Previously, US President Donald Trump ordered the navy to destroy any Iranian vessels that harass American ships in the sea.
According to Iranian state media, Rouhani’s comments were made on a telephonic conversation with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. In the conversation which marked the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Iranian leader said that his country "follows America’s activities and movements closely" but would never be the one that "starts conflict and tension in the region.”
The recent escalation between US-Iran relations came as US Naval Forces Central Command said on April 15 that “Iranian gunboats” repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the American vessels at extremely close range and high speeds. The US Navy said that its crew members had issued several warnings through bridge radio, including five short blasts from the ships' horns and long-range acoustic noisemaker devices. However, reportedly, the US did not receive any response from the Iranian Navy.
On the contrary, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s commander claimed that the incident that took place last week was the outcome of “unprofessional and dangerous behaviour by the Americans in the Persian Gulf”. Salami also reportedly added that it was an “operational turmoil” and blamed it on the “disorder” among the US troops at the sensitive area. According to the Revolutionary Guard’s chief, the incident at the Gulf showcased that “command and control” of America’s military units “may have been weakened” amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
In another befitting reply that US received after Trump’s threats, Iranian military said that Washington should focus on “saving” their own troops. While talking to an international news agency, the spokesperson of Iran’s armed forces, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, said that instead of “intimidating others”, US should enhance their capability to protect American troops.