Iranian vessel made ‘unsafe’ action against US copter
WASHINGTON: An Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard vessel pointed its weapon at a US military helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, two US defense officials said on Monday, an action they described as “unsafe and unprofessional.”
The officials added: “The behavior by our standards is provocative and could be seen as an escalation.” At no point did the crew of the helicopter feel threatened, they said.
The incident is the latest in a series of similar actions by Iranian vessels this year, but the first reported since Donald Trump won the US presidential election earlier this month.
During his campaign, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessel that harassed the US Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water,” if he was elected. Trump is due to take office on Jan. 20.
An Iranian military official said the US military presence in the Gulf poses the main risk of conflict in the region.
"Everybody knows that the main problem in the Gulf is the US presence," an unidentified official in the Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
The official said all international vessels were plying the Strait of Hormuz — through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil is shipped — with no difficulty and it was only the Americans who complained by making false cases against Iran.
He further called the US behavior "improper and unprofessional", but did not address the allegation that the IRGC vessel aimed its guns at the helicopter.
Several similar incidents have occurred this year. In September, a US Navy coastal patrol ship changed course after an Iranian fast-attack craft came within 90 metres of it.