Iran Constantly Harassed The US Navy Under Obama. That Stopped Under Trump

Bullet Points
U.S. Navy riverine sailors detained by Iranian forces on Jan. 12, 2016 off Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.
Fars News Agency

The Iranian military went from harassing the bejesus out of U.S. Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf during the Obama administration to effectively keeping its distance since the early months of the Trump administration, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose


  • The Iranians averaged 2.5 "unsafe and/or unprofessional interactions" monthly over a 20-month period starting in January 2016, 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Chloe Morgan told Task & Purpose, around the same time Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained a pair U.S. Navy riverine command boats belonging to Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.
  • In August 2017, those interactions ceased after an Iranian QOM-1 unmanned aerial vehicle buzzed the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
  • According to the 5th Fleet, the Navy experienced 36 unsafe interactions in 2016 and just 14 in 2017; so far this year, U.S. military personnel and vessels have gone unmolested by Iranian maritime forces.
  • But why? "We are not going to speculate on the reason for this recent positive trend in interactions, though we hope it will continue in the future," Lt. Morgan told Task & Purpose. "The United States Navy has not adjusted its operations and will continue to operate wherever international law allows."
  • One potential explanation: The Iranians “openly acknowledged there was a shift that happened roughly around the time we had our political transition,” as Foundation for Defense of Democracies vice president Jonathan Schanzer told Business Insider back in March. “There was a status quo and the status quo changed.”

That changing status quo, in Schanzer's interpretation, includes a stark reversal to the diplomatic inroads made with the Iranian regime under the Obama administration, including Trump administration's withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.

"They realize if they want to actually achieve their objectives across the Middle East," he said, "they needed to dial back on the harassment that would needlessly provoke the U.S."

Madman theory: It works, sometimes!

WATCH NEXT:

KABUL/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Taliban will implement a 10-day ceasefire with U.S. troops, a reduction in violence with Afghan forces and discussions with Afghan government officials if it reaches a deal with U.S. negotiators in talks in Doha, two sources have said.

If an agreement is sealed, it could revive hopes for a long-term solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Read More
U.S. Navy/Chief Mass Communication Specialist Dan Mennuto

The Defense Department announced on Friday that training would resume for international military students — once some additional policies and security measures were put in place.

Read More

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee renewed a threat on Friday to subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he does not provide information about Iran policy and President Donald Trump's ordering of the strike that killed an Iranian military commander.

Representative Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he scheduled a public hearing with Pompeo for Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Read More
Abu Abdul Bari (Twitter/@AliBaroodi)

Iraqi security forces earlier this week captured a larger-than-life ISIS official so massive that authorities were forced to haul him off in the bed of a police pickup truck after his arrest.

Read More
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)

THE PENTAGON — While speaking to reporters on Friday, Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman dismissed the idea that soldiers' injuries from the Jan. 8 Iranian attack was downplayed in order to advance a "political agenda" and de-escalate the situation with Iran.

Read More