US ship fires 30 warning shots as Iranian speedboats get close

US Coast Guard ship fired around 30 warning shots at Iranian fast boats in latest tense encounter

A US Coast Guard ship fired about 30 warning shots after 13 vessels from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) came close to it and other American Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon said on Monday.

US officials returned to Vienna last week for a fourth round of indirect talks with Iran on how to resume compliance with the deal, which former US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, prompting Iran to begin violating its terms about a year later.

The Revolutionary Guards' navy confirmed it had encountered seven U.S. vessels in the incident, but said it warned them "while maintaining the legal distance. against their risky and unprofessional behaviour, after which they continued on their way".

"Sadly, harassment by the IRGC Navy is not a new phenomenon".

"This is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and can lead to a real miscalculation there in the region and that doesn't serve anybody's interests", he said.

In late April, the US Navy disclosed the details about an incident that took place on April 26 in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. After coming into close contact with Iranian vessels at an "unnecessarily close range", United States forces fired multiple warning shots at three vessels of the IRGCN. That was the first such shooting in almost four years.

According to Kirby, a group of six USA vessels, including the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey, had been escorting the guided missile submarine USS Georgia into the strait when the Iranian boats approached them "at a very fast speed ... acting very aggressively". The sub was sailing on the surface.

Though Monday's incident did not breach that boundary, Kirby said Navy commanders "have the means at their disposal to defend their ships and their crews". The six Navy escort ships included the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey.

A day earlier, the Monterey had intercepted an arms shipment aboard a dhow in the Arabian Sea apparently headed for Yemen, whose Houthi rebels are supported by Iran.

Asked if the United States vessels are allowed to fire directly on the Iranian boats and sink them, Kirby declined to describe their rules of engagement.

At one point, two of the Iranian boats broke away from the others and positioned themselves on the other side of the USA ship formation.

The Navy described the approach by the two Iranian boats to within 150 yards as "an unnecessarily close range that put the ships and their crews in immediate danger".

The two Iranian boats then "altered course and increased their distance from the U.S. forces", Rebarich said.



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