London, Asharq Al-Awsat- As President George W. Bush met with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, Iran aired its own video of an incident in the Strait of Hormuz with US warships, in a bid to counter Pentagon accusations that the Iranians warned they could blow up the American vessels.
The four-minute video broadcast by Iran’s English-language channel Press-TV showed an Iranian commander in a speedboat contacting an American sailor via radio, asking him to identify the US vessels and state their purpose.
State-run Press-TV said the footage had been released by the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological force involved in the incident.
The Pentagon released a video and audio tape on Tuesday that it said confirmed US charges that Iranian speedboats swarmed around US warships in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday and radioed a threat to blow them up.
Elsewhere, Iranian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the visit by US President George Bush to the region is aimed at “containing” the rapprochement between Tehran on the one hand and the Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Egypt, on the other. They pointed out that the differences hampering the resumption of relations between Cairo and Tehran are being resolved in a positive manner, and that relations may be resumed in the next six months.
The source that spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity elaborated that, “The United States is concerned about Iran’s rapprochement with the regional countries. Cairo and Tehran, for instance, have made some progress toward solving their differences that hamper resumption of diplomatic relations between them. Both countries are working to resume relations during the next six months. In my view, ties between Tehran and Cairo will be resumed before the end of 2008.”Another Iranian official said: “Iran is watching [Bush’s] tour, its goal and results. Before the tour has ended, we will not prejudge the tour or its goals.”