Iran’s provo­ca­tions dis­turb­ing, says US

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE United States warned of “dis­turb­ing trends” in Iran’s be­hav­iour af­ter Tehran’s mil­i­tary threat­ened to down two US Navy planes over the Strait of Hor­muz.

Some in Wash­ing­ton had hoped Iran’s regime would show a warmer face to the world af­ter this year’s nu­clear deal, but a US of­fi­cial ad­mit­ted this has not been the case.

Asked about Iran’s mil­i­tary provo­ca­tions, its bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests and its de­ten­tion of US cit­i­zens, State De­part­ment spokesper­son Mark Toner ac­knowl­edged con­cern.

“We have seen some dis­turb­ing trends,” he said, adding of the threat to the planes, “We have seen a suc­ces­sion of these events over the past month or so.” The spokesper­son in­sisted that Iran would have been an even greater threat to its re­gion and to the United States if it had not signed the deal to limit its nu­clear am­bi­tions.

But Mr Toner ad­mit­ted it was pos­si­ble that Iran had stepped up its provo­ca­tions in other do­mains af­ter the con­tro­ver­sial agree­ment won the Is­lamic repub­lic sanc­tions relief.

Ear­lier, the Pen­tagon had con­firmed the lat­est in a se­ries of dan­ger­ous mil­i­tary en­coun­ters be­tween the US Navy and Ira­nian forces near key oil trade routes in the Gulf.

Two US mar­itime pa­trol air­craft were fly­ing sep­a­rate mis­sions in in­ter­na­tional airspace on Septem­ber 10 when Ira­nian air de­fence bat­ter­ies chal­lenged them by ra­dio.

US Naval Forces Cen­tral Com­mand spokesper­son Com­man­der Bill Ur­ban said the Ira­ni­ans told the pi­lots they were fly­ing near Ira­nian airspace, and if they did not change course “we will fire Ira­nian mis­sile”.

The US air­craft replied, “This is a coali­tion air­craft con­duct­ing rou­tine op­er­a­tions in in­ter­na­tional airspace”, and con­tin­ued on their re­spec­tive mis­sions.

The spokesper­son said the Ira­nian warn­ing was “un­pro­fes­sional” but the US Navy has not deemed the in­ci­dent “un­safe” be­cause the US planes were out­side known Ira­nian anti-air­craft mis­sile ranges. –

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