Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

The Trump Administration’s Lies About Iran

The administration is lying about Iranian "hostile actions."

Flynn’s dishonest claim that a Houthi attack on a Saudi vessel was an “Iranian action” has morphed into an even more provocative, false claim from the Press Secretary today:

The White House Press corps wanted to know what being put “on notice” entailed, and Spicer responded by claiming that Iran’s government took actions against a U.S. naval vessel, which would be an act of war. “I think General Flynn was really clear yesterday that Iran has violated the Joint Resolution that Iran’s additional hostile actions that it took against our navy vessel [bold mine-DL] are ones that we are very clear are not going to sit by and take,” he said.

Spicer has managed to combine Flynn’s nonsensical statement blaming Iran for the attack with the garbage analysis I mentioned earlier in the week that the attack had been intended for a U.S. ship, and he has produced something even more divorced from reality. No U.S. ship was attacked or targeted by anyone, Iran wasn’t responsible for the attack that did happen, and yet according to the Trump White House Iran took “hostile actions” against one of our ships. This is as blatant a lie as any that Spicer has told over the last two weeks, and it is on a matter of the greatest importance. The Trump administration is conjuring up “hostile actions” against a U.S. vessel out of thin air, and they appear to be doing so for no other reason than to stoke tensions and make conflict with Iran more likely.

It would be easy to dismiss these statements from Flynn and Spicer as ignorant babbling were it not for the fact that they are coming from the top levels of our government. The administration is lying about Iranian “hostile actions,” and it seems to be trying to cook up an excuse for increasing tensions with and possibly military action against Iran. Hawks have repeated Saudi propaganda about Yemen uncritically for years, and their pervasive exaggeration of Iran’s involvement in Yemen has helped pave the way for the administration’s lies about Iranian “hostile actions” that never happened. The longer that the U.S. keeps backing the Saudi-led war on Yemen, the worse this is likely to get.