WHY ARE WE TOLERATING THIS? THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME AND IF WE REFUSE TO DEAL WITH IT, IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST! ARE WE CONCERNED THESE MURDERING BASTARDS ARE THINKING ABOUT ATTACKING AND GOING TO WAR WITH THE UNITED STATES? 🇺🇸 THEY WILL BE DECIMATED WITHIN 30 MINUTES!!…….PapaMike
Standoff in the Persian Gulf marks second in a month and comes as Biden administration pursues talks over Iranian nuclear deal.
WASHINGTON—A U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots during a confrontation with three Iranian vessels on Monday in the Persian Gulf, officials said, in a second high-risk encounter between U.S. and Iranian naval forces in the past month.
The incident on Monday and another in the region on April 2 marked the first in a year involving American warships. They occurred as the Biden administration presses for talks on renewing the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran. Talks began in Vienna earlier this month.
In Monday’s standoff, Navy officials said that three small vessels commonly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, swarmed two American ships operating in international waters in the northern area of the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian boats, known as fast attack boats, which U.S. officials said were armed, approached the U.S. Navy patrol ship USS Firebolt and a U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat, the Baranof, officials said. The three Iranian fast attack boats came within 70 yards of both ships, according to officials.
Crews of both U.S. ships issued multiple warnings, using radio and loudspeaker devices, but the Iranian vessels continued to maneuver close to both. Finally, the crew of the Firebolt fired warning shots, and the smaller Iranian vessels moved away, officials said.
Such incidents are risky and violate the rules of the road for seamanship, Navy officials said.
Throughout the interaction, U.S. forces proactively communicated with the [Iranian] vessels and executed pre-planned responses to reduce the risk of miscalculation, avoid a collision and to de-escalate the situation,” said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which oversees the region.
There was no immediate response from Iran’s office at the United Nations to a request for comment. Iran in past incidents has sought to cast U.S. ships as the aggressors, operating far from U.S. interests or encroaching on Iranian waters.
The incident on Monday was similar to the April 2 encounter, reported Monday by The Wall Street Journal, in which three fast attack boats, accompanied by a 180-foot support ship also used by the IRGC, conducted a series of maneuvers around two U.S. Coast Guard ships.
That incident occurred in the southern area of the Persian Gulf and included not just the smaller attack boats but the larger support ship, a notable addition to this kind of harassment, officials said. No U.S. shots were reported fired in that confrontation.
The last such encounter was in April 2020, officials said. Iranian units had routinely conducted maneuvers using small fast boats for at least two years, but in 2018 stopped carrying out such operations. The administration of former President Donald Trump at the time had warned of reprisals if anything happened to American ships in the region.
U.S. officials have said that it is often unclear whether such maneuvers are directed by Tehran or are initiated by IRGC commanders acting on their own.
The Coast Guard ships are part of a Coast Guard unit that operates outside the U.S. to augment the U.S. Navy on patrols and on other missions in the region, and are assigned to a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s task force.
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal