Iranian vessels come dangerously close to American military ships

The incident comes at a time of increased tensions between the two countries and while such clashes occurred occasionally a few years ago, they had stopped. According to the statement from the US military, the Iranian vessels approached six US military ships while they were conducting integration operations with Army helicopters in international waters.

The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision

US military statement

At one point, the Iranian vessels came within 10 yards of the US Coast Guard cutter Maui.

The US ships issued several warnings through bridge-to-bridge radio, blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices.

The Iranian ships left after about an hour, the statement said.

Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) issued a brief Farsi-language story on the US military report, without any reaction from Iranian authorities.

The US military statement said: “The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, and were not in accordance with the internationally recognised Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “We’ve talked as a team. We’re evaluating how best to respond and how best to communicate our displeasure with what took place.”

Close interactions with Iranian military vessels were not uncommon in 2016 and 2017.

On several occasions, US Navy ships fired warning shots at Iranian vessels when they got too close.

Tensions between Iran and the United States increased earlier this year after the United States killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in a drone strike in Iraq.

Iran retaliated on January 8 with a rocket attack on Iraq’s Ain al-Asad base where US forces were stationed.

No US troops were killed or faced immediate bodily injury, but more than 100 were later diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.

Earlier this month President Donald Trump said Iran or its proxies planned a sneak attack on US targets in Iraq, and warned they would pay a “very heavy price.”

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