As if we needed further confirmation that Iran hasn’t changed, even after the implementation of the nuclear deal with the P5+1, the media supplied it this week – with a volley of reports on the latest naval altercation between Iran and the US.
This time, the “interactions” – as they were described in The Wall Street Journal – took place on the high seas, where Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)-operated attack boats equipped with machine guns approached two US Navy warships transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, one of which was carrying US Central Command head Gen. Joe Votel.
The incident took place six months after Iran captured two US Navy boats and the sailors on board, releasing them only after questioning and humiliating them at gunpoint. The capture triggered a media fallout – but not all of it was aimed at Iran, with some outlets even portraying the incident as a diplomatic victory facilitated by the nuclear deal.
This time, Iran’s actions could hardly be interpreted as anything but a provocation and confrontation, with Votel, the senior commander on board the USS New Orleans, calling for Iran to be held accountable and scorned for its actions.
Reuters reporter Phil Stewart, who was also on board the US ship shadowed by the IRGC vessels, wrote in the wake of the incident that the Iranian warships’ arrival was a “worrying reminder” of “how little time American forces have to decide” whether Iran’s intentions are threatening or not. Over at Fox News, the headline of Lucas Tomlinson’s report on the incident went a step further, highlighting the fact that Iran’s persistently combative actions serve as proof that it has not changed its behavior – mere days before the anniversary of the landmark deal touted as heralding a new, more open, less bellicose Iran.