IRGC vessels on April 15 close to the US Navy which called the move ‘unsafe and unprofessional’ [US Navy/Reuters]
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have rejected the US account of an encounter between the two sides’ navy in the Gulf, calling it a “Hollywood tale” after the US Department of Defence accused Tehran of “dangerous and provocative” actions.
According to the US, the Iranian ships approached six US military ships while they were conducting integration operations with Army helicopters in international waters on Wednesday.
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At one point, the Iranian vessels came within 10 yards of the US Coast Guard cutter Maui, it said.
Following several warnings, including blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise by the US ships, the Iranian ships left after about an hour, the US Department’s statement added.
BREAKING: 11 Iranian #IRGCN vessels repeatedly conducted dangerous & harassing approaches against U.S. naval ships operating in international waters of North Arabian Gulf. U.S. crews took actions deemed appropriate to avoid collision.Details: https://t.co/ZVKPKv738o pic.twitter.com/lKJgDz0l2N
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) April 15, 2020
On Sunday, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said in a statement that the US Navy “has presented an incorrect and agenda-fuelled narrative of this encounter” and labelling the US account as a “Hollywood tale”.
“We advise the Americans to follow international regulations and maritime protocols in the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and to refrain from any adventurism and false and fake stories,” the statement added.
The IRGC accused the US of “blocking the path” of Iranian ship Shahid Siavoshi on April 6 and 7 with “dangerous behaviour while ignoring warnings”.
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In response, the IRGC increased maritime patrols, the statement said, and “encountered” US warships on April 15.
Tension between the two countries have risen since the US withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.
The escalation seemed to reach a breaking point when Washington killed IRGC top commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in a Baghdad drone attack in January.
Earlier this month, an Iranian official called US President Donald Trump “more dangerous than coronavirus” saying moves to block vital medical supplies to fight coronavirus from reaching Iran was tantamount to crimes against humanity.
Al Jazeera and news agencies