Last week, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) sent four vessels to “harass” a U.S. warship near the Strait of Hormuz. A prim schoolmarm of a U.S. official called the Iranian action “unsafe and unprofessional.”
In reality, there was nothing “unprofessional” about it. The incident wasn’t about seafaring conduct — it was a clear act of war.
The Iranian vessels harassed the USS Nitze, a destroyer, by “conducting a high speed intercept and closing within a short distance of Nitze, despite repeated warnings,” said the official. “The Iranian high rate of closure … created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation, including additional defensive measures by Nitze.”
USS Nitze changed course to get away from the Iranian vessels, but Iran’s message was clear: it has been on a war footing against the United States since 1979, and continues to be. The Iran nuclear deal has only emboldened it.
Iranian vessels now regularly confront U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf. The Obama administration has been deliberately hiding and downplaying these incidents.
Think about the enormity of that: the White House is misleading Americans into thinking that Obama successfully achieved rapprochement with Iran.
The details of Iran’s ongoing war activities against the United States are unknown to most Americans; the full, shocking story is in my new book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. For years, Iranian leaders have engaged in extremely bellicose rhetoric against the U.S. On February 11, 2014, the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian Chief of Staff Hassan Firouzabadi boasted:
Iran is prepared for the decisive war against the U.S. and the Zionist regime. … Iran has been making plans, conducting maneuvers, and preparing its forces for this battle for years now.
Such threats weren’t limited to Revolution Day. In a Friday sermon on February 21, 2014, the head of Iran’s influential twelve-member Guardian Council of the Constitution Friday worship, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, preached this:
The Imam Khomeini said that the U.S. is the Great Satan, and we expect [Iranian officials] to recognize the enemy. The U.S. is the Great Satan, yesterday and today … While the enemy carries out ugly actions and says evil things, the Iranian nation has shown fervor and, with its enthusiastic turnout [a week and a half before, for the February 11 Revolution Day celebrations], made it known that it will not tolerate humiliation.
Jannati continued, thundering:
The first option on our table is “Death to America.” The entire people’s slogan is “Death to America” … Another option on our table is the defense of Palestine; other messages from the Iranian people to their officials are not to fear the enemy and not to fear death.
[The Americans] already want us to capitulate on the nuclear issue — but on what basis are they interfering in Iran’s affairs? If we let them, the Americans will destroy Islam and the Revolution, because they have no honor and no humanity … See how they left the helpless people of Iraq. They carry out massacres in Palestine, and support takfiris who slaughter people.
(Takfir is the practice of declaring a Muslim who is considered to hold a heretical form of Islam to be a non-believer. Shi’ites often refer to Sunni jihadis as takfiris because they do not regard Shi’ites as true Muslims.)
In May 2014, senior Iranian commander Massoud Jazayeri warned that if the U.S. attacked Iran, not only would the result be “the annihilation of the Israeli regime,” but war in the U.S. itself:
[The Americans] know that aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran would mean annihilation of Tel Aviv and spread of war into the United States.
Fadavi added the following during an interview at that time:
Today the Americans and the entire world know that one of our operational goals is destroying U.S. Navy Forces.
A specific target would be aircraft carriers:
[Carriers] provide U.S. airpower in combat; therefore it is natural that we want to sink them … destroying, annihilating, and sinking U.S. boats has and will be in our plans.
In September 2014, Fadavi asserted that Iran already had hegemony in the Persian Gulf:
The U.S. is obedient and passive in the Persian Gulf and we impose our sovereignty right in the Persian Gulf very powerfully. … We observe confrontations and, as a matter of fact, debates between Iran and the foreign vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz on a daily basis and they always comply.
In May 2015, the IRGC’s Salami actually said that Iran wanted war with the United States:
We have prepared ourselves for the most dangerous scenarios and this is no big deal and is simple to digest for U.S.; we welcome war with the U.S. as we do believe that it will be the scene for our success to display the real potentials of our power.
With its ongoing harassment of U.S. ships, Iran is behaving now as if that war is upon us. Barack Obama has emboldened, empowered, and financed a nation that for decades now has consistently repeated its determination to defeat and destroy the United States.
Iran cannot do this by means of a conventional war. Its actions against U.S. ships show that Iran is convinced that Obama is terminally weak, and will never respond to any of their provocations, no matter how bellicose they get.
About that, Iran is right. The only question is how far they will push their harassment and bellicosity in the waning months of this disastrous administration.