The incident began with the Iranians ordering the ship into Iranian waters. When the ships master refused, the Iranians began to fire in a way to try to disable the ship, not just as warning shots, the U.S. official said.

Several shots hit the cargo ship, but did not disable it. The ship went into UAE waters and the Iranians followed it into those territorial waters, continuing to fire, before breaking off.

Starr, Barbara.  “First on CNN: Five Iranian boats fire shots in the Persian Gulf.”  CNN Politics, May 14, 2015.

The Khamenei style makes for a bad movie, but, nonetheless, a movie in the making appears to be what the chest-thumper script follows.  Repeatedly.  Recall the 2007 header, “Iran seizes 15 British marines and sailors” (Aref Mohammed, Reuters, March 23); drift back to 2004 (thanks, Wikipedia): “2004 Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel”; and more recently in the news: Maersk Tigris, a cargo ship (the incident took place between April and May this year), Maersk Kensington (CNN URL dated April 29).

A senior Iranian military official warned that any effort to board a Yemen-bound ship – supposedly filled with aid supplies – would “spark a fire,” amid speculation that Tehran is using the shipment to try to provoke an incident.

One U.S. official told Fox News the Iranian ship has media aboard.

“Iran is begging for us to board the ship. This is all for show,” he said.

Fox News.  ‘All for show’? Iran warns against boarding Yemen-bound ship, US questions motives.”  May 13, 2015.

From the same piece: “”I bluntly declare that the self-restraint of Islamic Republic of Iran is not limitless,” Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy chief of staff, told Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam state TV late Tuesday.”

There should be no question about the defects in personality involved in Iranian belligerence and its version of military and political reality testing in service to extraordinary kleptocracy and political manipulation in turn associated with an equally ambitious and piratical expansionism.

Connect the dots:

The Ayatollah appears incapable of restraint except when confronted with the prospect of main force — and the smaller parts of “main force” — “diplomacy”, sanctions, excoriations — appear of little concern given the regime’s comfortability with its criminality, limitless ambitions, and largely unimpeded operating style.

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