U.S. fires warning shots at Iranian boats in Gulf

US Coast Guard ship fired around 30 warning shots at Iranian fast boats in latest tense encounter

US warships Monday in the Strait of Hormuz fired warning shots at armed Iranian speedboats that had approached to within 150 yards of the American flotilla, USA officials said.

U.S. officials returned to Vienna last week for a fourth round of indirect talks with Iran on how to resume compliance with the deal, which former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, prompting Iran to begin violating its terms about a year later. After the second volley, the Revolutionary Guard vessels left, Kirby said.

"This is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and could lead to a real miscalculation there in the region, and that doesn't serve anybody's interests". On April 2, Revolutionary Guard ships repeatedly crossed in front of U.S. Coast Guard ships at close range over three hours.

"Sadly, harassment by the IRGC navy is not a new phenomenon", Kirby acknowledged Monday.

"I think we've seen now in this second incident, (commanders) are very stringent about following the proper procedures for providing warnings verbally first, and then if need be, through the use of warning shots to try to change and to mitigate the Iranian behavior".

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby accused the Iranian boats of "acting very aggressively" near the U.S. military vessels, which were escorting USS Georgia, a guided-missile submarine. Last month, Iran's Navy came within 68 yards of USA ships operating in the Persian Gulf. The sub was sailing on the surface.

A day earlier, the Monterey had intercepted an arms shipment aboard a dhow in the Arabian Sea apparently headed for Yemen, whose Houthi rebels are supported by Iran.

The episode follows a string of recent incidents between Iranian boats and United States warships.

At a briefing with reporters on Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby labeled the action by the Iranian boats as "unsafe" and "unprofessional" and "dangerous". The two then sped toward some of the United States ships.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui fired warning shots from a.50-caliber machine gun when the boats came within 300 meters of the U.S. vessels, and again when the boats came within 140 meters, at which point they backed off.

After "bridge-to-bridge verbal warnings, five acoustic device warnings, and five short blasts of the ship's horn, the internationally recognized danger signal", the USA ships finally began firing warning shots, according to NAVCENT. It fired another volley when the Iranian boats got within 137m.

The two Iranian boats then "altered course and increased their distance from the United States forces", Rebarich said.



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