Iranian vessels come 'dangerously' close to US military ships

2020-04-16 11:51

Eleven vessels from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy came close to United States Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf, the US military said on Wednesday, calling the moves "dangerous and provocative".

While such interactions had occurred occasionally a few years ago, they had largely stopped in recent months and years, and this incident comes at a time of increased tensions between the two countries.

READ | US-Iran tensions escalate after new air strike on pro-Iran convoy in Iraq ahead of Soleimani funeral

According to the statement, the Iranian ships approached six US military ships while they were conducting integration operations with Army helicopters in international waters.

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 added.

There was no mention of the incident in Iranian media.

"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," the US military's statement said.

Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated since US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and re-imposed crippling sanctions.

Earlier this year, the US killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, in a drone strike in Iraq.

Iran retaliated on 8 January with a rocket attack on Iraq's Ain al-Assad 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.

Read more on:    us  |  iran  |  security
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