|Still image from a video taken in the Gulf. April 15, 2020. © Reuters / U.S. Navy
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has slammed American forces for acting in a “provoking” manner towards Iranian sailors in the Persian Gulf, where the US has no business being.
Zarif didn’t mince his words in his tweet, which also had a map attached, showing the distance of 7,592 miles from US shores to the Gulf.
American ships “have no business 7,000 miles away from home, provoking our sailors,” he wrote.
The US military is hit by over 5000 #covid19 infections. @realdonaldtrump should attend to their needs, not engage in threats cheered on by Saddam's terrorists.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 23, 2020
Also, US forces have no business 7,000 miles away from home, provoking our sailors off our OWN Persian Gulf shores. pic.twitter.com/7CjzabkyVK
Zarif also criticized the high coronavirus infection rates in the US military, which has reported more than 5,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases so far.
This comes in response to US President Donald Trump’s tweet threatening to “shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea” – a view Trump reiterated during a White House press conference.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
The exchange was prompted by a confrontation in the Persian Gulf between the US and Iran, and growing tension between the two countries. A week earlier, the US navy accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of “dangerous and provocative” actions against its vessels.
In response, the IRGC said it would give a “decisive response” to any mistake made by the US in the Gulf, and accused the US of violating international law and maritime protocols regulating navigation in the area.
Iran has also announced that, in response to perceived US threat, it will be summoning the Swiss ambassador, who represents US interests in the country in the absence of an American diplomatic mission.