USA warship fires warning shots at Iranian boats

USS Nitze

A U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat Wednesday after the vessel refused to back away in response to flares.

Iran reportedly approached two U.S. Navy ships last month in the Persian Gulf, one of which was carrying U.S. Central Command Chief Army Gen. Joesph Votel.

The Iranian boat came within 200 yards of the USS Squall on Wednesday before the American patrol ship fired three shots. On Wednesday, the USS Stout, another destroyer, was harassed by Iranian warships, apparently the same vessels that approached the Squall, Cook said.

The Iranian ships “created a unsafe, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation, including additional defensive measures by Nitze”, an American defense official said of the earlier incident.

The Iranian ships buzzed the Nitze ignored repeated radio, whistle and flare warnings from the Nitze and slowed their approach only when they were within 300 yards of the US ship, Urban said. “And we’re going to continue to take the steps that we need to do to make sure that our sailors and our ships are as safe as possible as they conduct their operations”, Cook explained.

Four Iranian vessels carried out a “high-speed intercept” of a USA destroyer on Tuesday around the Strait of Hormuz, local media reported on Wednesday.

Because the US doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Iran, Mr. Earnest said, “our ability to discern exactly what their intent was is limited”.

The destroyer “changed its course multiple times in close proximity to offshore oil rigs in an attempt to maintain separation”, Raines said, which confirmed the vessels were in the Iranian waters. The month before that, Iranian fired rockets near USA warships and flew drones over the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

And they came a day after four small Iranian boats approached the USS Nitze at high speed in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. Navy described the incident as “unsafe and unprofessional” and said it occurred in worldwide waters in the narrow Strait of Hormuz.

But Iran’s defense minister warned that Iranian forces would respond to any foreign ships entering its territorial waters.

Ten percent of those encounters were deemed unsafe and unprofessional, the official said.