Saturday, July 29, 2017

Iran: US Warship Fired Warning Shots at Revolutionary Guard Vessel

Iran said Saturday that a United States Navy aircraft carrier fired warning shots at one of its ships in an “unprofessional” manner, state media reported.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted a statement from the Revolutionary Guard as saying the incident occurred Friday when the USS Nimitz approached an off-shore oil platform in the Persian Gulf and a helicopter from the ship buzzed a boat carrying Iranian soldiers.

The confrontation marks the second such incident this week. On Tuesday, a U.S. ship fired warning shots at an Iranian vessel in the Gulf after sailors on the ship said it approached them in a threatening manner.

Iran denied approaching the U.S. ship Tuesday and said it was the U.S. ship that was acting in a threatening way.

Dust-ups between U.S. and Iranian vessels have happened fairly regularly in recent months. In January, a U.S. destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz as they approached at high speed.

Incident follows rocket launch

This most recent confrontation between U.S. and Iranian militaries came just a day after Iran said it had successfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite into space.

State television in Iran claimed Thursday the “Simorgh” rocket, which means phoenix in Farsi, is capable of carrying a 250-kilogram satellite as far as 500 kilometers above Earth, but did not elaborate on the kind of satellite.

The U.S., along with Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement denouncing the rocket launch, calling it “destabilizing” for the region.

Prior to the launch of the satellite, the U.S. moved earlier this month to increase economic sanctions placed on Iran over its ballistic missile program.

The launch did not violate the 2015 nuclear agreement, which was signed by Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany — although the U.S. has expressed concern that the rocket technology being developed by Iran could potentially be adapted to long-range missiles.

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