Michael Flynn, national security advisor for President Trump, made a statement Wednesday regarding Iran’s recent ballistic missile test, as well as attacks on Saudi naval vessels in the Red Sea. According to Flynn, these acts demonstrate Iran’s continued efforts to increase its aggressive influence within the Arab world.
“Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants, underscore what should have been clear to the international community all along about Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East,” Flynn said.
“Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened,” Flynn continued. “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
Flynn then pointed the finger at the Obama administration for failing to take action. “The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions, including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms.”
Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, notified the press that a briefing from the National Security Council would soon follow.
Houthi rebels, believed to be backed by Iran, executed a suicide attack on a Saudi frigate on Monday. Initial reports indicated that the ship had been hit by a missile, but video footage suggests that a suicide bomber rammed a small boat into the side of the vessel. The ensuing explosion claimed the lives of two Saudi sailors and left three more injured.
On the video, a voice can be heard shouting, “Allahu akbar [God is great], death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory for Islam.” Some defense analysts have suggested that the attack could have been intended for a U.S. vessel or was being treated as a “dry run” for a potential attack on the American Navy. The same group of Iran-backed rebels fired missiles at U.S. Navy ships last October, prompting the Navy to respond by shooting down the incoming missiles with SM-2 missiles—their first successful engagement in a combat situation. They followed up by destroying Houthi radar installations with Tomahawk missiles.
On Sunday, Iran tested a ballistic missile that may be nuclear capable, prompting the United States to accuse them of violating the nuclear agreement Iran made with a group of world powers led by the U.S. Iran’s minister of defense, Hossein Dehghan, dismissed America’s complaints, and stated clearly that Iran would not be pushed around by U.S. policies.
“We have previously announced that we will execute the programs we have planned in production of defense equipment meant for our national interests and objectives,” Dehghan said. “Nobody can influence our decision. We will not allow foreigners to interfere in our defense affairs.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council that America feels it should take action over the “alarming” Iranian test.
“I will tell the people across the world that is something we should be alarmed about,” Haley added. “You will see us call them out as we said we would, and you’re also gonna see us act accordingly.”
President Trump was openly critical of the nuclear deal made with Iran on the campaign trail, and his concerns over Iran’s ties to terrorist organizations prompted him to include it among the seven “countries of concern” that are temporarily banned from entering into the United States.
Image courtesy of the Associated Press