Iranian vessels come dangerously close to American military ships: U.S


Almost a dozen small craft operated by the naval wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guard carried out harassing maneuvers dangerously close to USA warships conducting exercises in the Persian Gulf, Navy officials said Wednesday.

Eventually, after around an hour, the Iranian ships acknowledged the warnings over the bride-to-bridge radio and then maneuvered away.

A statement from the US Navy's 5th Fleet says that 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels came very close to the US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Persian Gulf and zipped around at high speeds, coming within 10 yards of the UCG cutter Maui's bow, per Fox News.

The U.S. ships involved were the USS Lewis B. Puller, the USS Paul Hamilton, the USS Firebolt, the USS Sirocco, the USCGC Wrangell and the USCGC Maui.

The Americans issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, fired five short blasts from the ships' horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no immediate response, the statement said. There was no official statement from Iranian authorities.

"The (Iranian Navy's) risky and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision", USA officials said in a statement.

The video of the incident appears to show multiple Iranian flagged vessels, with men manning guns at the front of those ships, passing in front of a U.S. naval vessel.

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The US has been conducting military operations in the Persian Gulf since late March, with the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and its battle group arriving in the waterway in early April.

The close approach at sea came as armed Iranian speedboats boarded and then briefly detained the Hong Kong-flagged chemical tanker SC Taipei in the Gulf of Oman, directing it to Iranian waters before allowing it to proceed.

Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) issued a brief story in Farsi on the United States military report, without any reaction from Iranian authorities.

Soleimani was killed on January 2 by a USA airstrike near Baghdad's global airport, under orders from President Donald Trump following attacks on an Iraqi military base housing coalition counter-terrorism forces.

Tense incidents remain common between Iranian and USA forces in the Persian Gulf, particularly in its narrow mouth called the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of all the world's oil passes.

As tensions with the Islamic Republic spiked past year after a series of mysterious attacks on oil tankers, Washington stepped up patrols and escort missions around the Strait of Hormuz - a vital passage for the world oil supply wedged between Iran and the United Arab Emirates - pressuring several European allies to join in.

Trump earlier this month said that Iran or its proxies planned a sneak attack on USA targets in Iraq, and warned they would pay a "very heavy price".