Iran vs US: Tehran defies Donald Trump by vowing to ignore US navy warning

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The naval units of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman will continue their regular missions in accordance with professional principles as in the past

Iranian military official

The United States yesterday warned mariners in the Persian Gulf to stay at least 100 metres from US ships. However, an unnamed Iranian military official struck a defiant note, saying: “The naval units of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman will continue their regular missions in accordance with professional principles as in the past.”

The US warning came after US President Donald Trump’s threat last month to fire on any Iranian ships that harass US Navy vessels.

The Bahrain-based US Naval Forces Central Command said its warning was “designed to enhance safety, minimise ambiguity and reduce the risk of miscalculation”.

Last month, 11 Iranian vessels came close to US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf in what the US military called “dangerous and provocative” behaviour.

Tehran hit back by blaming the US the incident.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington has risen since 2018, when Mr Trump quit 2015’s Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action (JPOCA) nuclear deal aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapon.

Citing repeated violations, Mr Trump reimposed damaging economic sanctions shortly afterwards.

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Last month, the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards warned Tehran would destroy US warships if its security is threatened in the Gulf.

Iran’s clerical rulers consider the US military presence in the Middle East a threat to the Islamic Republic’s security.

Separately, Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami today warned the US against any hostile moves against Iranian oil tankers operating in international waters, the Fars News Agency reported.

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General Hatami told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday:“Troubling the oil tankers is a violation of international laws and security.

“Both international organisations and countries which are sensitive to the laws and waterways’ security should certainly show reaction to such an act.

Any such moves by the US would be “piracy”, he said.

He added: “Of course, our policy is fully clear and we have clearly announced that we will not tolerate any disturbance.

The Americans and others know that we certainly do not hesitate to react to any such move and if the disturbances increase and continue, they will certainly face a firm response.”

State media in Iran has claimed four US combat warships plus Boeing P-8 Poseidon fighters have been sent to “harass” an Iranian tanker taking fuel to Venezuela.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded by sending a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning him the US would be responsible for “ensuing consequences”.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi told reporters: “Free trade among independent states is a legitimate issue.

“The US in Trump era is disturbing the global order and is after global anarchism.”

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