The Navy official’s recent statements were a stark contrast with rhetoric from his predecessor, Vice-Admiral James Malloy, who in summer 2020 had denounced Iran’s “aggressive harassing activities, attacks and seizures of ships, and unsafe and unprofessional encounters”.
Vice-Admiral Sam Paparo, who oversees the Navy’s 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, while delivering comments to the annual Manama Dialogue hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, spoke of having a “healthy respect” for both Iran’s regular navy and the naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The latter has been blacklisted by the United States as a terror group.
The several months that Paparo has been in charge have not seen any major crises with Iran, despite the US Navy routinely registering encounters with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), whose speedboats patrol shallower waters of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
Nevertheless, Paparo was cited as quoting former US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis at one point:
There has not been any official comment on the remarks from Iran’s mission to the United Nations.
‘Reckless and Provocative’
The statements by the former Navy fighter…