WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump ordered conditional military strikes Wednesday against Iranian vessels after a Persian Gulf encounter between the two countries.
Trump tweeted Wednesday that he has “instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
Trump’s action comes days after Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said its forces were conducting drills in the Gulf when they faced “unprofessional and provocative actions” from U.S. warships last week.
But a video released by the U.S. Navy shows small Iranian fast boats coming close to the American warships.
Hours before Trump’s order, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it launched the country’s first military satellite into orbit after several failed attempts.
The U.S. has objected to Iran’s satellite program, maintaining it is being used to develop ballistic missiles that could be armed with nuclear warheads.
Iran has insisted its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes.