The Iranian navy’s actions “did not meet the international standards of professional or safe maritime behavior, increasing the risk of miscalculation and collision,” said Col. Joseph Buccino, spokesman for US Central Command. “CENTCOM forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere in the area of responsibility international law allows while promoting regional stability.”
Monday’s dramatic interaction, lasting about an hour, ended when the Iranian ships departed the area, officials said.
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It was the latest close encounter between Iranian and American vessels in the gulf.
Last year, according to reports, three Iranian fast-attack craft similarly barreled down on two US vessels patrolling international waters in the Persian Gulf, coming within 68 yards and prompting the American ships to fire warning shots.
In 2020, the United States accused 11 Iranian ships of making “unsafe and unprofessional” moves when they zipped around American vessels.
Iranian ships harassed American vessels in Persian Gulf, military says
The United States has also periodically accused Iranian aircraft of threatening and dangerous maneuvers against American vessels in international waters.
It is unclear whether the interactions at sea are related to negotiations toward a new international pact to manage Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which have largely stalled.
Last week, the US Treasury Department levied new sanctions against a group of Iranian petrochemical producers and related “front companies” the US government believes had been helping Tehran evade preexisting restrictions.