On Monday, London announced that it would be joining the US-led maritime mission in the Persian Gulf, in spite of the UK’s earlier promises to forge ahead with a ‘European-led’ security coalition instead.

The US has lost every confrontation it has had with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ naval forces in the past four decades, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, deputy commander of the IRGC, has boasted.

“Americans have always been the ultimate and full-scale losers in all their encounters with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Navy, and the most notable cases of their defeats were on April 14, 1988, and January 12, 2016, before their drone was shot down on June 20” of this year, Fadavi said, his comments quoted by Fars.

The other two dates, April 14, 1988 and January 12, 2016, were apparent references to ‘Operation Praying Mantis’, a US Navy mission targeting oil platforms in Iranian territorial waters, which saw a US frigate damaged by an Iranian mine and sparked one of the largest US naval skirmishes since WWII, and a 2016 naval encounter which led to the capture ten US sailors by Iran after their vessel ‘accidentally strayed’ into Iranian waters.

On June 20, 2019, a $220 million US spy drone was shot down by the IRGC’s air defence troops after flying into Iranian airspace, with the incident bringing the two countries to the brink of war.

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