Straight Facts about the Persian Gulf “Incident”

Iran’s release of the video taken on the morning of Sunday, January 6th in the Strait of Hormuz, clearly debunks Pentagon’s hype of depicting a routine patrolling operation by the Iranian Navy as an act of unfathomable aggression against the United States.

The timing of this so-called “provocation” incident in the Persian Gulf just before Mr. Bush’s trip to the region was also very convenient as he went on reminding the world and all the client Arab states in the region during a press conference in Israel yesterday that they must fear this menacing “threat to world peace” and prepare for a joint U.S./Israeli action to deal with Iran.

Some have rightfully compared it with another eerily similar “incident” in the Gulf of Tonkin on August 2, 1964 when another government lie started a war leading to over 50,000 American deaths and millions of Vietnamese casualties.

But several gigantic errors and miscalculations severely undercut this latest concoction.  First, this is not 1964, and, thanks to the Internet, people no longer have to rely on radio, television, and newspaper versions of the events which often report such official claims as absolute truths.

Second, Iranians, unlike Americans, do remember and have learned quite a bit from their history with the United States, especially the aftermath of the 1953 CIA coup which put an end to their budding democratic government.

The amateurish video-audio hodgepodge released by the DoD to bolster U.S. claims has instead raised more questions and exposed the U.S.’s hostile intent rather than portraying the U.S. as victim of Iranian mischief.  According to a report published in the New York Times, unnamed Pentagon officials are saying that the threatening voice heard in the audio clip, which was recorded separately from the video images and merged together later by the Navy, “is not traceable to the Iranian military”.

That voice spoken in an unfamiliar accent was the dead giveaway for many Iranians including this writer that the video was a hoax.  To the contrary, the Iranian version appears realistic with audio and video perfectly synchronized in what appears to have been shot with an ordinary camcorder most of us are familiar with.  The Navy men speak in a very familiar accent while going about their business of patrolling and identifying ships sailing in or near Iranian territorial waters.

Here is the text of the conversation that took place between the two patrolmen on the Iranian Navy speed boat as translated from Persian:

0:07 #1: “Announce its position”

0:30 (Patrolman #2 calls the other by name with a reference to need for safety procedures)

0:45 #1: “Slowly get a little closer . . . can’t make out the ship number”

0:50 #2: “Did you get it?”

0:51 #1: “Yeah, it is not clear”

0:56 #1: “Wait just a moment”

0:57 #2: “It is better now”

1:16 #1: “Is it 73?” (Boat proceeds to pull a little closer)

1:32 #1: “I hear something being announced from its loudspeakers, what is it saying?”

1:50 #1: “I think they’re talking to us”

2:35 #2: “Channel?” (Getting ready to establish radio communication)

2:36 #1: “16”

2:37 #2: “What was the ship number?”

2:38 #1: “73”

2:40 (Then patrolman #2 starts the radio communication in English)

Wouldn’t the U.S. Coast Guard be doing exactly the same if a Russian or Chinese warship sailed into the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida coastline?

At the very end of this 5 minute video, one of the Iranian patrolmen is heard reciting the ship’s position: “26 and 30 minutes north and 0 and 56 minutes east” and the American ships are shown sailing away west without incident.

Welcome to the Persian Gulf.

Daniel M. Pourkesali was born in Babol, a city in the Mazandaran Provence in Northern Iran.  After graduating from high school, he moved to United States in 1978.  He is today a product engineer with an aerospace company in Northern Virginia.  He is a member of the National Iranian American Council, the Persian Gulf Organization, and Iranians for International Cooperation; and he serves on the US board of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII).  This article first appeared in the CASMII Web site. 

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