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:

(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephane Belcher)

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.

On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.

Read More Show Less
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove (Lincoln County Sheriff's Office)

A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.

Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.

Read More Show Less
Sailors from USS George Washington (CVN 73) wear-test the I-Boot 5 at Naval Station Norfolk. (U.S. Navy photo by Courtney Williams)

Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.

"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."

Read More Show Less
Senator Jim Inhofe speaks with local reporters at a press conference held at the 138th Fighter Wing August 2, 2018. (U.S. National Guard/Staff Sgt. Rebecca R. Imwalle)

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn leveled harsh criticism last week at the contractor accused of negligence and fraudulent activity while operating private housing at Tinker Air Force Base and other military installations.

Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, referred to Balfour Beatty Communities as "notorious." Horn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told a company executive she was "incredibly disappointed you have failed to live up to your responsibility for taking care of the people that are living in these houses."

Read More Show Less
U.S. Senator Rick Scott speaks during a press conference at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 29, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Monica Roybal)

The Saudi national who killed three students on a U.S. Naval Air station in Pensacola was in the United States on a training exchange program.

On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott said the United States should suspend that program, which brings foreign nationals to America for military training, pending a "full review."

Read More Show Less