The Pentagon said yesterday that the apparent radio threat to bomb U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf last weekend may not have come from the five Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats that approached them -- and may not even have been intended against U.S. targets.
To further challenge the U.S. version, Iran yesterday released what it asserted was an abridged video of the same incident, which shows a calm exchange. "Slowly get a little closer . . . can't make out the ship number," says a Revolutionary Guardsman on a small patrol boat, speaking in Farsi. "I hear something being announced from its loudspeakers; what is it saying? I think they're talking to us."
"Which channel?" says a second Iranian. "Coalition warship 73," he says, speaking in English through his radio mike. "This Iranian navy patrol boat. Request side number . . . operating in the area this time."
A U.S. ship radios back: "This is coalition warship 73. I read you loud and clear."
The five-minute video, released by Iranian television yesterday, offers no indication of the tensions that supposedly sparked the encounter between U.S. and Iranian vessels in the Strait of Hormuz -- and no indication of an intention to attack. The Pentagon said it does not dispute anything in the Iranian video.
In Tehran, Revolutionary Guards Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi charged that the United States was creating a "media fuss," the Fars News Agency reported. He said the Iranian objective was to obtain registration numbers that were unreadable.
And so the Pentagon does not deny the veracity of the Iranian version of events but Fred Thompson is free to make "meet the virgins" comments to applause? And they say Ron Paul is scary.