A United States Navy ship fired a warning shot at a vessel belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard in the Persian Gulf. The encounter involving the guided-missile destroyer happened earlier this week and was reported by military officials today. The incident is the most recent evidence of escalating hostilities between America and Iran.
The warning shot fired by the USS Mahan ((DDG 72) in the Persian Gulf happened on Monday. The Iranian vessel tried to come close to the United States Navy destroyer even as the American ship continued to attempt to turn it away, the Daily Mail reports. The USS Mahan attempted to turn the Iranian ship away be issuing verbal warnings, but those efforts went unheeded by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Navy Corps.
“Mahan made several attempts to contact the Iranian vessel by bridge-to-bridge radio, issuing warning messages and twice sounding the internationally recognized danger signal of five short blasts with the ship’s whistle, as well as deploying a flare to determine the Iranian vessel’s intentions,” said Lt. Ian McConnaughey of the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.
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The U.S. Navy ship altered its course after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel came within about 1,000 yards of the USS Mahan. The paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) finally turned away and sailed off after the warning shot was fired, ABC News reports.
The Persian Gulf is not the only region of the Middle East where Iran and the United States have been squaring off. The Strait of Hormuz, which is located close to the gulf, has also seen provocative incidents between the two nations. One-third of the oil traded globally and transported by sea travels through the Strait of Hormuz.
In January, the USS Mahan also fired warning shots at a group of Islamic Revolutionary Guard vessels in the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian military boats would not alter their course even after multiple radio calls, flares, and smoke bombs were used to deter it from continuing its approach, according to a Reuters report. The smoke bomb float was dropped into the water from a United States Military helicopter during the encounter.
During this particular hostile incident between the U.S. Navy and the Iranian military, the approaching vessels came with 900 yards of the USS Mahan. Other encounters along the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz over the past 36 months involved ships from the two countries coming even closer to one another.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy has reportedly increased its “unprofessional” encounters in both the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz since the controversial nuclear deal inked during Barack Obama’s administration. During his 2016 campaign speeches, President Donald Trump vowed to alter or terminate the deal if better terms could not be worked out for America.
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Since the Iranian nuclear deal was signed, the United States Navy has documented an increasing number of hostile incidents with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy. In 2016, after the Obama deal was signed, 35 incidents with Iranian military forces that were deemed as either “unsafe” or unprofessional occurred. The worst hostile incident last year occurred when Iranian military forces took 10 American sailors and held them captive overnight.
In 2015, before the nuclear deal was signed, there was a total of 23 such incidents in the same region. So far in 2017, a total of seven such unsafe encounters have occurred.
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