Amid lingering military tension between the U.S. and Iran, President Trump tweeted Tuesday that he had instructed the Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian fast boats that harass American naval ships.

Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist told reporters Wednesday that Trump's comments were meant more as a warning than a change in military intentions.

“The president issued an important warning to the Iranians, what he was emphasizing is that all of our ships retain the right of self-defense,” Norquist said. “The president is describing and responding to poor behavior of the Iranians.”

Six U.S. warships were carrying out training operations in the Persian Gulf last week when 11 Iranian ships “crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds,” an April 15 statement from the Navy revealed. One Iranian vessel reportedly came within 10 yards of a U.S. ship, with U.S. crews honking their horns in response to the provocation.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IGRC) has called the U.S. depiction of the incident a "fake Hollywood tale.”

The Trump administration and Iran have had a tense relationship, with the two countries on the brink of war earlier this year after the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani by a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad International Airport in January. In response, Iran attacked U.S. military bases in Iraq, causing traumatic brain injuries in more than 100 soldiers.

In September, the U.S. condemned a drone attack on Saudi oil facilities, blaming Tehran. In June, Iran shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz, with Trump deciding not to retaliate militarily due to the possible casualties it would cause.

In May 2018, Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The agreement eases sanctions against Iran in exchange for international monitoring of the country’s controversial nuclear program, along with other stipulations. Months later, Trump announced new sanctions on Iran, angering the country’s leadership.