Naval Forces Closely Monitoring Persian Gulf

Naval Forces Closely Monitoring Persian GulfNaval Forces Closely Monitoring Persian Gulf

A lawmaker said Iranian patrol vessels are closely monitoring ships passing through the Persian Gulf and protecting peace in the region.

Mohammad Javad Jamali, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the statement in an interview with ICANA published on Friday.

Jamali was responding to remarks by a Pentagon spokesman that the Iranian vessels “harassed” and forced a US warship to change course in the Persian Gulf last Sunday.

The lawmaker said it is possible that foreign ships lose their way in the Persian Gulf and come close to Iran’s waters, mainly due to technical problems.

“Usually, Iranian ships warn such vessels and push them away from the wrong path,” he said.

“But when such mistakes become frequent, it causes suspicion that such incidents are provocative.”

The lawmaker said Iran has a significant presence in the Persian Gulf and if provocative measures continue, “we will give a strong response”.

Last Tuesday, Reuters reported Pentagon Spokesman Captain Jeff Davis as saying that the 53-meter USS Firebolt changed course after boats of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps came close and sailed directly in front of it on Sunday.

The US official said there have been 31 similar interactions with Iranian ships this year, almost double the number from the same period last year.

The report claimed it was at least the fourth such incident in less than a month and “US officials are concerned that these actions by Iran could lead to mistakes.”

 Better Preparedness

Valiollah Nanvakenari, another member of the parliamentary panel, also told ICANA on Friday that with increased vigilance of Iran’s naval forces, the US warships cannot easily enter Iran’s waters anymore.

“Although they are highly active in the Persian Gulf, their [illegal] entries into Iranian waters are now much less than before,” he said. “This is while in the past, we had once seen three US aircraft carriers straying into Iranian waters.”

Last January, Iranian forces temporarily detained two US craft for illegally entering Iranian waters.

Last month, General Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, claimed Tehran is acting in an “unsafe and provocative manner” in the Persian Gulf.

On August 24, Reuters reported an unnamed US defense official as saying that IRGC vessels conducted a “high-speed intercept” of a US warship and “harassed” it in the Strait of Hormuz a day earlier.

In response, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan said it was part of the Iranian vessel’s regular duties to monitor foreign ships near Iranian waters.

“If an American ship enters Iran’s maritime region, it will definitely get a warning,” he said. “We will monitor them and if they violate our waters, we will confront them.”