IRGC Reports New Provocative Move by US Navy

IRGC Reports  New Provocative Move by US  Navy
IRGC Reports  New Provocative Move by US  Navy

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy has reported a repeat of the "provocative" and "unprofessional" actions by the US Navy in the Persian Gulf waters, leading to the second close encounter between the two forces in a week.

The episode marks the latest in a series of periodic confrontations in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, and one of the firsts since US President Donald Trump, who is highly antagonistic toward Iran, came to power.

In a statement released on Saturday, IRGC's Zolfaqar flotilla command said the new incident happened in the middle of Persian Gulf, unlike a similar occasion last Tuesday that was in the north of the waters.

"At 4 p.m. [local time] on Friday, a US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier accompanied by a frigate, while under surveillance by IRGC missile boats near the Resalat oil and gas field, launched a helicopter and approached the boats," ISNA quoted the statement as saying.

"In a provocative and unprofessional move, Americans issued warning to the Zolfaqar flotilla vessels and fired flares."

The Iranian vessels, "ignoring the irregular and unconventional behavior" of the US warships, continued their mission until they left the area, the statement added.

IRGC also announced on Tuesday it had frustrated a provocative move by a US Navy ship that fired warning shots at an Iranian vessel patrolling in international waters "with the aim of provocation and intimidation".

The Tuesday statement came after western media quoted an unnamed US official as saying that the USS Thunderbolt patrol ship had fired warning shots toward an Iranian vessel.

According to the American narrative, the US Navy ship fired after the Iranian boat came within 150 yards (137 meters) of it at high speed and ignored radio calls, flares and the ship's whistle.

Iran says the US naval presence has the potential to subvert security in the Persian Gulf waters and it is its undeniable right to prevent the illegal incursion of any foreign vessel into the area bordering its territorial waters.

In January 2016, Iran's naval forces arrested the crews of two US patrol boats that had trespassed on Iranian waters. They were released shortly afterwards.

The Friday incident came one day after the US Congress voted to approve a new sanctions bill against Iran, the first full-fledged package of sanctions against the country since the 2015 nuclear deal involving Iran and six world powers.



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