US Navy fires shots in second confrontation with Iranian vessels in two days
Just a day after four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boats charged a U.S. Navy destroyer near the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. Navy coastal patrol boat was forced to fire warning shots to fend off fast approaching Iranian vessels in the North Persian Gulf.
USS Squall and USS Tempest, both Cyclone-class patrol ships, were in international waters when Iranian vessels approached at high speed coming as close as 600 yards despite warning flares and radio messages.
After an Iranian fast attack craft came within 200 yards of the USS Tempest, USS Squall fired three warning shots from the 50-caliber gun into water. The Iranian vessel thereafter left.
The same Iranian attack craft later went on to harass USS Stout, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, crossing multiple times in front of the ship’s bow. The U.S. Navy destroyer departed the area without incidents.
The latest series of incidents show that the Iran nuclear deal is having little effect on Iranian behavior as the country’s military does not seem to be veering off from its confrontational attitude in the region.
Washington Times reported Iran’s top defense official saying that the military was going to “warn” and “confront” any foreign ships entering the nation’s territorial waters.
Prior to the latest series of incidents, Iranian vessels captured 10 US Navy soldiers at gunpoint after they strayed into Iranian waters. Iran also staged naval drills during which live-fire missiles were fired near the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Iranians harassed the same carrier a month later when they flew a drone over the carrier while Iranian media reported that a submarine managed to approach the carrier’s strike group without being noticed.
Earlier, in 2015, IRGCN forces captured 15 Royal Navy sailors aboard HMS Cornwall and a U.S. flagged commercial ship M/V Maersk Tigris on two separate occasions.