Iran is practicing military maneuvers involving 50 small boats in the Persian Gulf.
A report by Fox News on Aug. 1 indicated The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard was expected to hold the exercise with 100 gunboats within 48 hours. That expectation became reality, but with only about 50 small boats in the Strait of Hormuz, according to an Aug. 2 Fox report.
The exercises are not unusual during the fall, but are earlier than expected this year, according to Fox. This is presumably due to recent heated words between President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
The “swarm” exercise could impact the Strait of Hormuz and affect trade. About 10 percent of the world’s oil passes through the strait, according to two unnamed U.S. officials, via Fox News.
“We are aware of the increase in Iranian naval operations within the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman. We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways,” said Navy Capt. Bill Urban, the U.S. Central Command spokesman, in a statement.
The United States military has the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans in the region, along with 10 patrol craft. British and French warships are also in the region, Fox reported.
Tensions grew recently after Rouhani addressed Iranian diplomats on July 22, saying, “Mr. Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret,” and “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” according to IRNA, Iran’s state news agency, via Reuters.
President Trump responded via Twitter, that same day.
To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
President Trump has since offered to meet with Iranian officials, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered conditions for a meeting, ABC News reported.
The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards responded by letter with a refusal to meet with Trump or any other U.S. President in the future, according to the Fars News Agency.
President Trump is expected to impose more sanctions on Iran in the coming week, Fox reported.