U.S. commander: Naval provocations show nuke deal did not change Iran’s behavior

by WorldTribune Staff, August 31, 2016

Iran’s use of fast-attack boats to harass U.S. vessels in the Persian Gulf shows the Islamic Republic has not changed its behavior since last summer’s nuclear agreement, according to the commander of U.S. Central Command.

Iranian fast-attack boats
Iranian fast-attack patrol boats.

“We haven’t seen a significant change in their behavior, just as we’ve kind of been talking about here, with the agreement,” Gen. Joseph Votel said. “To me …that remains a concern.”

In the first half of 2016, there were 19 incidents between Iranian vessels and the U.S. Navy in which Iran acted as the aggressors, nearly double the number from the same period in 2015.

“No one else does what they do” in the Persian Gulf,” Votel said. “They don’t go out and they don’t drive fast boats towards military vessels out there in the same way that they do. Nobody else does that.”

Votel said Teheran is “trying to exert their influence and authority in the region,” adding the incidents are “unsafe” and “unprofessional” and not helpful toward Iran’s long-term objectives.

Last year, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested the nuclear deal might improve U.S.-Iran ties.

“I know that a Middle East that is on fire is going to be more manageable with this deal and opens more potential for us to be able to try to deal with those fires,” Kerry said in July 2015.

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