US Navy fires warning shots at Iranian vessel for violating rules

New York [US], Aug. 26 : A US Navy patrol craft fired three warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat after it had harassed the patrol craft.

Another US patrol craft and a Kuwaiti Navy ship were also harassed in the incident, which took place in the northern end of the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, reports the CNN.

Violating the rules, the Iranian boat came within 200 yards of one of the US Navy boats. When it failed to leave the area after the Navy had fired flares and had a radio conversation with the Iranian crew, the USS Squall fired three warning shots as per the standard maritime procedures, said US officials.

The three shots were fired into the water to ensure the Iranians understood they needed to leave the immediate area.

Commenting on the incident, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said incidents like this one "unnecessarily escalate tensions," adding that the US doesn't know Iran's intentions.

An US Navy official said four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels conducted a "high-speed intercept" of the USS Nitze in waters near the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, deeming the incident "unsafe and unprofessional." He added that the two of the vessels slowed and turned away only after coming within 300 yards of the US guided-missile destroyer as it transited international waters near the Strait of Hormuz, and only after the destroyer had sent multiple visual and audio warnings.

The incidents are the latest in a series of all-too-close encounters with Iran in the region since December.

These close encounters have included Iranian rocket launches, drones flying over US vessels and the capture of US sailors in January.

They come against the backdrop of renewed US diplomatic contacts with Iran. In the wake of Tuesday's incident, the Nitze and US Naval Forces Central Command have determined that the Iranian vessels were violating international law and maritime standards and were acting dangerously and unprofessionally.

Source: ANI