US Navy ship fires warning shots at Iranian ship in Persian Gulf

Jul 26, 2017, 00:47
US Navy ship fires warning shots at Iranian ship in Persian Gulf

The U.S. Cyclone-class patrol ship, the USS Thunderbolt, was at the time involved in an exercise with American and partner vessels in the Persian Gulf, the Associated Press reported.

The shots were fired after the Iranian vessel came to within 150 yards (137 meters) of the USS Thunderbolt and failed to respond to repeated attempts to reach it via radio, then ignored warning flares and a series of blasts on the United States ship's whistle, the Navy said in a statement.

According to the official, the USS Thunderbolt fired the warning shots when the Iranian vessel failed to respond to attempted radio communication. The Iranian ship came within 1,100 yards of the USS Mahan, closing the distance even after the USA ship maneuvered to open the distance.

In March, the US media reported that a USA navy surveillance ship was "harassed" by Iranian vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, a claim that had been rejected by Iran as the White House's media hype against Tehran.

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However, tensions remain over the Syrian war and Iran's ballistic missile programme, and stand-offs at sea have happened.

He said the Iranian ship backed away after the warning shots were fired.

The USS Thunderbolt fired shots from.50-caliber machine gun, according to Fox News.

Iran's hard-line Revolutionary Guard later blamed the American ship for provoking the incident. It said the Thunderbolt fired into the air "with the intention to provoke and create fear".

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While close encounters between US ships and Iranian small craft in the Gulf are common, it's rare for an American ship to fire warning shots.

In a more recent encounter deemed "unsafe and unprofessional", an Iranian ship targeted a laser at a U.S. helicopter as it accompanied three U.S. Navy ships through the Strait of Hormuz last month. Last month, an Iranian vessel aimed a laser at a US helicopter as it traveled with Pentagon warships in worldwide waters in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian forces view the American presence in the Gulf as a provocation by itself.

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