US Navy unsure whether taped threats were Iranian
( dpa ) - The US Navy has acknowledged that taped threats to bomb US warships in the Gulf during a confrontation with Iranian speedboats earlier this week could have come from another source.
"It could have been a threat aimed at some other nation or a myriad of other things," US Navy spokesman Rear Admiral Frank Thorp IV said, according to a report in the Washington Post on Friday. Five Iranian small boats approached three US warships in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz Sunday morning, sparking a confrontation that ended after the boats left as the American ships were preparing to open fire.
President George W Bush has characterized the incident as "dangerous" and "provocative" and warned the Iranians of "serious consequences" if it happens again. The Pentagon released a video of the encounter showing the Iranian boats speeding near and around the much larger US ships. The video included radio transmissions to the Americans that said "I am coming to you" and "you will explode."
The transmission came on a channel that is frequently used by ships in the region.
Pentagon officials said the United States did not claim the threats came directly from the Iranian boats, but said the transmissions along with the aggressive manoeuvring of the boats lead the US sailors to believe they were being threatened.
"No one is the military has said that the transmission emanated from those boats," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. "But when they hear it simultaneously to the behaviour of those boats, it only adds to the tension."