Ira­nian at­tack boats ha­rass US ship in ‘un­safe’ in­ci­dent

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SEVEN Ira­nian mil­i­tary boats ha­rassed a US pa­trol ship in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters in the Per­sian Gulf over the week­end in yet an­other “un­safe and un­pro­fes­sional” in­ter­ac­tion, the Pen­tagon said.

The Ira­nian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps fast-at­tack boats ap­proached the USS Fire­bolt on Septem­ber 4 with their ma­chine guns un­cov­ered, though not trained on the Amer­i­cans, said Pen­tagon spokesper­son Cap­tain Jeff Davis.

“Three of them ma­noeu­vred close to the [US] ship, shad­ow­ing her course from a range of about 500 yards [457 me­tres],” Mr Davis said.

The Ira­nian ves­sels even­tu­ally broke away, but one then turned to­ward the Fire­bolt and stopped di­rectly in front of it.

“This caused the Fire­bolt to have to ma­noeu­vre to avoid col­li­sion,” Mr Davis said, not­ing the US sailors had tried to hail the Ira­ni­ans via ra­dio.

“This is an­other ex­am­ple of an un­safe and un­pro­fes­sional in­ter­ac­tion we’ve had with the IRGCN.”

The Septem­ber 4 en­counter is at least the fifth the Pen­tagon has re­vealed in the past month, with US mil­i­tary of­fi­cials re­peat­edly blast­ing Tehran for the mar­itime in­ci­dents.

In one in­ci­dent last month, the USS Squall re­sorted to fir­ing warn­ing shots from a 50-cal­i­bre gun at an Ira­nian ves­sel as it ap­proached.

Navy of­fi­cials say ships from the US and Ira­nian navies in­ter­acted more than 300 times in 2015 and more than 250 times the first half of this year, with 10 per­cent of those en­coun­ters deemed un­safe.

“Com­mand­ing of­fi­cers are given the in­her­ent right of self-de­fence, and what we don’t want to have is a sit­u­a­tion where, due to mis­cal­cu­la­tion, that right is in­voked when it doesn’t need to be,” Mr Davis said.

In Jan­u­ary, the Ira­nian navy briefly cap­tured the crews of two US pa­trol boats that had, through a se­ries of blun­ders, strayed into Ira­nian ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters. –

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