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The United States Navy announced that it fired warning shots at vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Persian Gulf, accusing the IRGC vessels of coming close to U.S. ships in international waters.
In an official statement released Tuesday, the U.S. Fifth Fleet alleged that three IRGC vessels approached a U.S. Navy patrol ship as well as a U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat late Monday evening.
According to the statement, “The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the IRGCN vessels continued their close-range maneuvers."
It continued by stating that “The crew of [US navy patrol ship] Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the IRGCN vessels moved away to a safe distance from the U.S. vessels.”
Monday's was the second encounter between the U.S. and Iranian naval forces in Gulf waters this month, after close to a year without any such incidents.
The U.S. Navy similarly released footage from April 2, supposedly showing an IRGC ship cutting in front of the USCGC Monomoy, causing the US Coast Guard vessel to come to a sudden stop with its engine smoking.
Iran has not acknowledged that encounter, which resulted in neither injuries nor material damage.
An American warship fired warning shots Monday night when vessels of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard came too close to a patrol in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy says. https://t.co/r3V8FVkNmB
The closest the Iranian vessels came to the American ships was 204 feet (62 meters) during the evening.
U.S. President Joe Biden had promised renewed diplomacy with Iran as world powers are hoping to get both countries back into full compliance with the nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. in 2018.
The head of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Tuesday that the U.S. military would be careful not to let incidents with the IRGC Navy escalate into reprisals. However, he did not specifically mention Monday’s interaction.
Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said: “The activities we typically see from the IRGC Navy are not necessarily activities that are directed by the Supreme Leader or from the Iranian state, rather irresponsible actions by local commanders on the scene."