US Navy fires warning shots in new tense encounter with Iran

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US Navy fires warning shots in new tense encounter with Iran

Dubai, April 28 

An American warship fired warning shots when vessels of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard got here too near a patrol in the Persian Gulf, the US Navy mentioned Wednesday.

The Navy launched black-and-white footage of the encounter Monday night time in worldwide waters of the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf. In it, lights might be seen in the space and what seems to be a single gunshot might be heard, with a tracer spherical racing throughout the highest of the water.

Iran didn’t instantly acknowledge the incident.

The Navy mentioned the USS Firebolt fired the warning shots after three fast-attack Guard vessels got here inside 68 yards (62 meters) of it and the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranoff. 

“The US crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the (Guard) vessels continued their close-range manoeuvres,” mentioned Cmdr Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Mideast-based fifth Fleet. 

“The crew of Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the (Guard) vessels moved away to a safe distance from the U.S. vessels.” She known as on the Guard to “operate with due regard for the safety of all vessels as required by international law.” “US naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defence,” she mentioned.

The incident Monday marked the second time the Navy accused the Guard of working in an “unsafe and unprofessional” method this month alone after tense encounters between the forces had dropped in current years. 

Footage launched Tuesday by the Navy confirmed a ship commanded by the Guard minimize in entrance of the USCGC Monomoy, inflicting the Coast Guard vessel to return to an abrupt cease with its engine smoking on April 2.

The Guard additionally did the identical with one other Coast Guard vessel, the USCGC Wrangell, Rebarich mentioned. Such shut passes threat collisions.

The interplay marked the primary “unsafe and unprofessional” incident involving the Iranians since April 15, 2020, Rebarich mentioned. However, Iran had largely stopped such incidents in 2018 and practically in the whole thing of 2019, she mentioned.

In 2017, the Navy recorded 14 cases of what it describes as “unsafe and or unprofessional” interactions with Iranian forces. It recorded 35 in 2016, and 23 in 2015.

The incidents at sea nearly at all times contain the Revolutionary Guard, which experiences solely to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Typically, they contain Iranian speedboats armed with deck-mounted machine weapons and rocket launchers test-firing weapons or shadowing American plane carriers passing by way of the Strait of Hormuz, the slender mouth of the Persian Gulf by way of which 20 per cent of all oil passes.

Some analysts consider the incidents are meant in half to squeeze President Hassan Rouhani’s administration after the 2015 nuclear deal. 

They embrace a 2016 incident in which Iranian forces captured and held in a single day 10 US sailors who strayed into the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters.

The incident comes as Iran negotiates with world powers in Vienna over Tehran and Washington returning to the 2015 nuclear deal. It additionally follows a collection of incidents throughout the Mideast attributed to a shadow warfare between Iran and Israel, which incorporates assaults on regional delivery and sabotage at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. –AP

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