US Officials Say Iran’s Missiles Were on Boats for ‘Offensive’ Attacks

Iran FM: We can put our missiles wherever we want to put them

Dismissed by Iranian officials, the US continues to push the reports of missiles on Iranian boats, in Iranian territorial waters, as proof that Iran posed a serious threat to launch a surprise attack last month.

The US used claims of a non-specific Iranian threat to justify large military deployments to the region, but so far the only concrete thing they can say Iran actually did was put a number of missiles on small, commercial boats.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was very dismissive of this, pointing out that they are Iran’s missiles and Iran’s boats, and that “we have the right to put whatever missiles we want to put on them.”

Zarif further dismissed US ideas that this was a threat, saying that “putting missiles on our boats is different from blowing up a ship.” US officials, however, are arguing that there is no “plausible reason” to put the missiles on the boats except for launching offensive, covert operations.

Yet this is seemingly untrue on its face, since Iran had the missiles on the boats, and plainly did not launch any attacks with them. Even if the US can’t imagine an alternative reason, it is clear that this didn’t necessarily lead to an attack, because no attack ever took place.

US officials seemed to hope that this was just one data point in an overall set pointing toward an Iranian attack, and justifying a military buildup. Yet at this point it seems to be the only one that was not invented whole-cloth by Mossad, and the lone foundation of a very dubious justification for weeks of talking war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.