Rep. Rob Whittman appeared on Newsmax TV to talk about an intense encounter that occurred after Iran's Revolutionary Guard approached the United States Navy in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday at high speed in 13 armed patrol boats. The U.S. Navy responded by firing 30 warning shots.
Rep. Wittman, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said to "American Agenda" that "Iran is always probing, always testing, looking at what the United States will do in reaction to them. They also want to make sure they create uncertainty in one of the critical choke points in the world, that is the Strait of Hormuz."
According to Wittman, 17 million barrels of oil move through the Strait of Hormuz every day, but only about 2 million of those come to the United States.
What Iran is doing in the region is "Creating this uncertainty; going after American naval interest in the area is meant to probe; it's meant to create uncertainty; it's meant to show that Iran will look to disrupt operations in that critical area of the world."
Wittman believes the Biden administration should respond the way "the Navy did, and that is an immediate response. But then diplomatically go to Iran and say, 'this behavior is absolutely unacceptable and that we will respond forcefully and immediately if our interests are in danger."
Iran published a statement on Tuesday saying that these were "false narratives and unprofessional behavior" and the U.S. should "abide by international regulations." The statement went on to say the Guard's navy warned U.S. vessels to stop their "provocative and aimless shooting."
But Rep. Wittman said, "the USS Georgia, which is a...strategic submarine that's in that area was being escorted by six U.S. Navy ships when these 13 Iranian gunboats came dangerously close to that critically guided-missile submarine. And we responded, which we should. We're going to protect our interests there. Iran is looking to see what we will do and what we won't do. Strong action, to Iran's actions, is what we need to be doing to deter any further aggressive behavior."
The actions come to light after the U.S. Navy had seized a Yemen-bound ship believed to be carrying weapons from Iran.
Wittman responded by saying the recent event is "probably a pushback from Iran saying, listen, if you're going to do that, we're gonna push back."
Wittman ended his thought on the matter, stating, "We are not going to allow them to destabilize the area. We're not going to allow them to interfere with our interest or international interest in commerce through the Strait of Hormuz."
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