Pentagon Blasts Iranian Navy for Harassing U.S. Ships in Persian Gulf
(Source: Radio Free Europe; issued March 07, 2017)
The Pentagon has blasted what it called the "unsafe and unprofessional" behavior of the Iranian navy after two separate incidents in the Strait of Hormuz last week.
A Pentagon spokesman said on March 6 that an Iranian frigate came within 150 meters of the lightly armed USNS Invincible on March 2. Then on March 4, several small assault craft came within 350 meters of the Invincible and three British naval ships.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said that, in both cases, the U.S. ship had to change course to avoid a collision due to "a combination of unsafe or unprofessional behavior" by the Iranian Navy.
"It's concerning because it can result in a miscalculation or an accidental provocation that we don't want," Davis said, "We actually had seen quite an improvement in Iran's behavior until recently."
Such encounters between U.S. and Iranian ships have occurred several times a year in the Persian Gulf. The last serious incident was in January when a U.S. Navy destroyer fired three warning shots at Iranian fast-attack vessels.
When he was campaigning, U.S. Preident Donald Trump vowed to "shoot out of the water" any Iranian vessels that harassed U.S. Navy ships.
US Navy Ship Changes Course After Iranian Vessel Interaction
(Source: Voice of America News; issued March 06, 2017)
PENTAGON --- Iranian vessels came within 550 meters of a U.S. Navy ship Saturday in the Strait of Hormuz, in what a Navy official told VOA was an “unprofessional and unsafe” encounter that forced the U.S. ship to change direction.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard attack craft surged in front of the USNS Invincible surveillance ship and sat in the water, forcing the American ship and other vessels to go around, the Navy official told VOA.
“It is not safe to do something like that,” the Navy official said. “Just having to go around them in narrow water like that can cause some issues.”
The USNS Invincible did not receive any communication from the small, lightly armed Iranian boats during the incident.
The encounter comes just days after an Iranian frigate came within 140 meters of the Navy ship on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman.
While the ships came closer to each other in Thursday's incident, the Navy official identified the encounter as “unprofessional, but safe” because the ship's crew at least “knew what the other ship was doing.”