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Iranian TV airs video it says shows no standoff
David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday January 10, 2008 | StumbleUpon
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Iran has accused the Pentagon of fabricating a video depicting a confrontation between massive Navy warships and small Iranian speedboats the US says posed a threat.

A short video broadcast this week on Iranian TV shows the confrontation as it was videotaped from one of the small Iranian crafts about 100 yards from the US Navy warships, which were operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf.

The grainy, 5-minute video did not show any Iranian boats approaching the U.S. vessels or any provocation. But the short clip likely did not show Sunday's entire encounter, which U.S. Navy officials described as threatening, and said lasted about 20 minutes.

An Iranian TV announcer said the video depicted "a routine and regular measure."

On CBS's Early Show Thursday morning, a retired US Army colonel said the video demonstrated how close the Iranian speedboats came to the US warships and demonstrated that the US was operating in international waters. Co. Jeffrey McCausland, a visited professor at Penn State University's law school, also doubted Iran's assertion that the Pentagon video was fabricated and said Iran has tried to provoke the US in the past.

"We have to think about who would benefit from ratcheting up tensions right now in the Gulf," McCausland said. "As we have seen over the last few weeks and months by the United States at least to reduce tensions. In Iran there have been, periodically, attempts to ratchet up tensions, largely I think, to benefit them internally and politically."

The Pentagon has released its own video of Sunday's incident, showing small Iranian boats swarming around U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz.

In the recording, a man threatens in English, "I am coming to you. ... You will explode after ... minutes."

The incident, which ended without any shots fired, has heightened U.S.-Iranian tension as President Bush visits the region. Bush was in the West Bank on Thursday, and heads next to Arab Gulf nations where he is expected to discuss strategy on Iran.

On Thursday, the Web site of the Iranian state broadcasting company quoted a top Revolutionary Guards commander as calling the Pentagon's video "unusual and illogical."

"This attention by the U.S. media and officials to a routine encounter means Americans are taking an unusual approach to (a) very ordinary issue," Gen. Ali Fadavi, the Guards' acting naval chief, was quoted as saying.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

This video is from The Associated Press, broadcast January 10, 2008.