Remember those Iranian vessels that allegedly menaced U.S. warships in the Gulf, threatening explosions? Just a few days after the president issued stern warnings to Iran over the incident, the Pentagon now says the threats, which were spoken by someone without an Iranian accent, might not have come from the Iranians and might not have even been directed at the Americans.
“It could have been a threat aimed at some other nation or a myriad of other things,” said a Navy spokesman.
This news comes on the heels of a claim out of Iran that the whole thing was doctored.
The communication Sunday was made on radio channel 16, a common marine frequency used by ships and others in the region. “It could have been a threat aimed at some other nation or a myriad of other things,” said Rear Adm. Frank Thorp IV, a spokesman for the Navy.
In the radio message recorded by the Navy, a heavily accented voice said: “I am coming to you. You will explode after a few minutes.” But Farsi speakers and Iranians told The Washington Post that the accent did not sound Iranian.
In part because of the threatening language, the United States has elevated the encounter into an international incident. Twice this week, President Bush criticized Iran’s behavior as provocative and warned of “serious consequences” if it happens again. He is due to head today to the Gulf area, where containing Iran is expected to be a major theme of his talks in five oil-rich sheikdoms.