The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has ordered his Navy to destroy any American terrorist force that threatens Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf. 

This latest bellicose statement emanated from Major General Hossein Salami on state television. It came a day after President Trump warned the Iranians via Twitter that he has “instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” Salami added that security in the Gulf is part of Iran’s “strategic priorities.”

Trump’s warning came as a response to a naval incident of about a week ago, when U.S. vessels sailing in international waters in the Gulf, were harassed by 11 Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Navy gunboats. The Iranian gunboats made several aggressive maneuvers near the American ships, including multiple crossings of one ship, the Puller, within a 50-yard closest point of approach and within 10 yards of another ship, the Maui’s, bow, according to U.S. Navy 5th Fleet.

The 5th Fleet reported that Iran conducted “dangerous [and] harassing approaches on U.S. naval vessels” and that American crews “took actions deemed appropriate to avoid a collision.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had called the stunts by the Iranian boats “provocative and unprofessional” and added that “a message needs to be sent to the Iranian commanders that if they threaten our warships, we reserve the right to self-defense.”

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels conducted unsafe and unprofessional actions against U.S. Military ships by crossing the ships’ bows and sterns at close range while they were operating in international waters of the North Arabian Gulf.  (U.S. Navy photo)

House Judiciary Committee Member Matt Gaetz (R-FLA), appeared on television and repeated that the U.S. President isn’t afraid of taking on any country that threatens the United States. He upped the war of words even more. 

“The United States doesn’t seek a war with Iran,” Gaetz said on Wednesday evening. “Such a war would certainly be lost by Iran, but the winner would undoubtedly be China.”

The message is very clear to any Iranian official that would engage in terrorism,” Gaetz added. “Either get your act together or get prepared to meet General Soleimani.”