Iran Takes on the U.S.: Is this Provocation, Defiance, or Tomfoolery?

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Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr

Responding to the U.S. naval presence in the Gulf, described by the Islamic Republic of Iran as “arrogant,” Iranian leaders have decided to dispatch a naval task force of their own to sail within proximity of U.S. territorial waters. This move is difficult to judge whether it is an act of provocation, an act of defiance, or an act of foolishness.

And if one wanted to be really Machiavellian, is this a smart maneuver intended to push the tension up a notch or two and with it, the price of oil by a few dollars per barrel?

What do you do if you’re an oil-producing country and strapped for cash and want to hike the price up a little bit to earn more money? Raise the political tension.

Provocation

The dispatching of three, possibly four or five, ancient warships to cruise off the Atlantic coast of the continental U.S. could be perceived by some members of Congress as something akin to an act of war and to authorize the U.S. Navy to respond with force if need be.

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