Responding to the US Navy's choice of words in reference to the Persian Gulf, which a CENTCOM spokesman referred to as the "Arabian Gulf" on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to Twitter to offer the Navy a history lesson.
"US Navy can't seem to find its way around our waters. Perhaps because it hasn't figured out its name: Persian Gulf, as it's been called for 2,000 years longer than US has existed," Zarif quipped.
US Navy can’t seem to find its way around our waters. Perhaps because it hasn’t figured out its name: Persian Gulf, as it's been called for 2,000 yrs longer than US has existed. Or maybe it doesn't know what it's doing in our backyard, 7,000 miles from home. pic.twitter.com/g05yqSTisi— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 3, 2018
"Or maybe [the US Navy] doesn't know what it's doing in our backyard, 7,000 miles from home," the Foreign Minister added, attaching a map showing the distance between the Persian Gulf and Florida.
Zarif's tweet follows US Navy Captain Bill Urban's statement about the US being "aware of the increase in #Iran naval operations within the Arabian Gulf, Strait of #Hormuz and Gulf of Oman."
The Iranian Foreign Minister's reply received the support of Twitter followers, who joked that the US Navy "needs to send its captains back to Annapolis to take geography 101," and recalled Iran's rich history dating back to the days of the Persian Empire.
It looks like #USNavy needs to send its captains back to Annapolis to take geography 101. According to all international laws its #Persiangulf, not Arabian. Its even documented in US Arlington Cemetery pic.twitter.com/DbBCNWd3e7— Rez Omidvar (@RezaOmidvar) August 3, 2018
As a Greek with an equally long and proud history as Iran, it will be forever known as the Persian Gulf to us.— Paul Antonopoulos (@oulosP) August 3, 2018
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a branch of Iran's armed forces, reportedly assembled over a hundred vessels, many of them fast-moving gunboats, near the Strait of Hormuz for drills this week. The annual exercises officially kicked off on Thursday, and have not affected commercial maritime activity in the area, US officials have told Reuters.
Last week, Iranian Foreign Ministry officials and military leaders warned that Iran would retaliate if other powers "seek to endanger" the country's interests. Last month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei stated that if Iranian oil exports were blocked, other regional exporters' oil supplies would also be blocked in retaliation. Khameini's remarks follow threats by Washington that it would bring Iran's crude oil exports down "to zero."
The Strait of Hormuz, part of which constitutes Iranian territorial waters, is the choke point passage way for about 20 percent of the world's crude oil, and carries oil from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Any blockage of the route would have devastating consequences for the global economy.