Iran and U.S. Trade Threats Over Persian Gulf; Iran Successfully Launches Satellite Into Orbit

A Hong Kong registered tanker was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on or about April 20, but quickly released. Iran is believed to be behind the seizure, as the ship was held for a short time off the coast of Iran. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

U.S. Navy warships have been ordered to attack and destroy any Iranian vessel that harasses navy ships. U.S. President Donald Trump issued the order, saying on Twitter that, “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” Armed Iranian speedboats have a history of harassing U.S. navy ships with dangerous maneuvers. The order comes after the most recent incident between the U.S. and Iranian navies, in which the Pentagon says the Iranians engaged in “dangerous and provocative actions” that risked collision. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

More Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Gen. John Hyten, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff applauded Trump’s warning to Iran and order to the navy to destroy any Iranian boats harassing navy ships. “I like that the president warned an adversary,” Hyten told reporters. “That’s what he’s doing. He’s providing a warning.” Hyten also said that “If you want to go down that path, we will come and we will come large.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

In response to Trump’s order, Iranian Major General Hossein Salami, leader of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (“IRGC”) warned that his troops would “destroy any American terrorist force” that threatens Iran’s ships in the Persian Gulf. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Also, the IRGC announced that it had significantly upgraded the range of its anti-warship missiles. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

The U.S. might nonetheless want to take note of the warning. Iran’s IRCG Council has announced that it had successfully launched a satellite into orbit, indicating and increase if Tehran’s rocket technology. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

More Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

However, a week later, U.S. Space Force commander Gen. Jay Raymond characterized Iran’s satellite as little more than a “tumbling webcam in space.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Finally, the U.S. is offering millions of dollars for information on Muhammad Kawtharani, the man who has “taken over some of the political coordination of Iran-aligned paramilitary groups” formerly managed by Iranian IRGC general Qassem Soleimani. Little is known about the man who the U.S. State Department says inherited part of Soleimani’s role coordinating pro-Tehran factions that have “engaged in wide-spread organised criminal activity.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…