Iranian naval boats have been harassing American warships this week in what Washington describes as maneuvers that could escalate tensions. On Tuesday, a U.S Navy warship, USS Squall, fired warning shots at Iranian vessels when they veered too close to American ships in the Persian Gulf. This came in the wake of another incident on Tuesday when Iranian naval vessels made provocative maneuvers around USS Nitze, an American destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian vessels ignore warnings
During the Tuesday incident, 4 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) vessels engaged in a high speed intercept .The Iranian vessels passed close to the Nitze as it transited international waters.
William Urban, spokesman for the 5th fleet said that in spite of repeated radio, flare and whistle warnings from Nitze, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the IRGC vessels continued approaching the destroyer. They only slowed down when they got within 300 yards of the U.S naval ship. During the Tuesday intercept, Nitze was flanked by the USS Mason, a destroyer armed with guided missiles.
Iran engaging in risky behavior
According to Peter Cook, Pentagon’s spokesman, these incidences are unsafe and carry the risk of escalating of tensions. Cook says that the U.S does not desire to engage in any activity that could escalate tensions in that part of the world.
Similar incidences occurred on Wednesday when 3 Iranian ships veered close to USS Tempest and Squall in the Persian Gulf. Tempest shot flares while Squall fired 3 warning shots from the vessel’s .50-caliber gun .At this juncture, the IRGC vessel left. Later in the day, the same ship engaged in dangerous moves by crossing the bow of the USS Stout, a guided-missile destroyer on 3 different incidences.
Iran’s capture of U.S sailors embarrasses the Obama administration
The warship intercepts are the latest among several incidences indicating the friction between Iran and the U.S. In January, the Obama administration found itself in an awkward situation when a group of U.S sailors were held overnight by Iranian personnel when their boats strayed into Iranian waters. The Navy claimed that the sailors were unprepared and poorly led which led them to make many errors. #Conflict