President Donald Trump suddenly tweeted early today that he has guided the Navy to discharge upon Iranian “gunboats” that “harass” U.S. ships adrift in another indication of increased strains among Washington and Tehran.

“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump tweeted.

A Navy representative alluded inquiries to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and U.S. Headquarters, which didn’t quickly react to a solicitation for input.

An Iranian military representative reacted to the tweet by proposing the U.S. government should concentrate on sparing its administration people from coronavirus.

“Today, instead of bullying others, the Americans should put all their efforts toward saving those members of their forces who are infected with coronavirus,” Abolfazl Shekarchi said, according to the ISNA news agency.

Trump’s tweet comes a week after the Navy announced that 11 Iranian vessels had conducted “dangerous and hassling” approaches of U.S. delivers in the worldwide waters of the northern Persian Gulf, coming as close as 10 yards to a Coast Guard shaper.

“The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, were not in accordance,” with worldwide guidelines, the Navy said at that point. The announcement alluded to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy.

The occurrence was the principal provocative trade between the two countries since early March, when the U.S. furthermore, alliance airplane struck Iran-sponsored Kataib Hezbollah volunteer army bunch areas in Iraq in counter for the passings of two U.S. troops in a rocket assault a day sooner.

New guidance directing the Navy to fire upon Iranian vessels that “harass” U.S. boats would be a huge change to administrators’ standards of commitment in the theater, one previous barrier official said. Officers can react just to an immediate risk, for example, if a vessel fires at a U.S. transport.

“The U.S. Navy has clear rules of engagement issued by the chain of command and reviewed to ensure they are consistent with all applicable laws of the sea and armed conflict,” said Michael Mulroy, who served as the Pentagon’s Middle East policy chief until December. “Any Iranian actions that directly threatens our naval vessels and their crew will be dealt with based on those rules of engagement.”

Mulroy included that the United States has not characterized provocation as an “immediate danger.” Otherwise, “we would take shots at a ton of Russian planes,” he noted, referring to customary occurrences of Russian jets buzzing U.S. airplanes.

Resigned Vice Adm. John Miller, the previous officer of U.S. Fifth Fleet, said the president’s tweet was likely intended to make an impression on Iran and ought not to change existing guidelines of commitment for Navy ships shielding themselves in the Gulf.

“Navy commanders are more than capable of understanding when the president says something, that’s meant for an outside audience as opposed to direction to them,” Miller told POLITICO. “It’s the president’s way, which isn’t always as smooth as we’d like it to be, of telling Iran ‘hey, stay away from our ships.”

Previous Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the tweet itself likely doesn’t change the standards of commitment in light of the fact that the Pentagon requires formal requests as opposed to “orders from Tweets.” He posited that the president is “trying to distract from Covid-19.”

Trump’s tweet goes ahead the heels of an announcement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps that it had effectively propelled the nation’s first military satellite into space, in the midst of worry from Western authorities about Tehran’s atomic program.

This isn’t the first run through Trump that has undermined Iranian vessels. During the 2016 presidential crusade, he said that if Iranian vessels bother U.S. dispatches in the Gulf, “they will be shot out of the water.” The U.S. military detailed numerous collaborations with Iranian military vessels in 2016 and 2017; on a few events U.S. Naval force ships ventured to such an extreme as to shoot notice shots at Iranian vessels that got excessively close.