US, Iranian navies skirmish in Persian Gulf

Wayward actions by an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) boat compelled a patrol craft of the US Navy to fire a total of three warning shots in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. The IRGC also intimidated a Kuwaiti Navy vessel and yet another patrol craft belonging to the US Navy.

Shots fired

According to a reliable news source, the IRGC boat came extremely near to the US boats. The Americans fired only when the Iranian boat approached within 200 yards of their ship. Before shooting, the US patrol boat has fired flares multiple times and also held radio conversation with the crews of the Iranian war vessel. The USS Squall followed the standard procedures as dictated by international laws. The shots were fired into the water to make sure that the Iranians were cognizant of leaving immediate area.  According to an official of the US Navy, four IRGC vessels executed high speed intercepts of USS Nitze in water close to Strait of Hormuz. The spokesperson termed this incident as not only unprofessional, but also unsafe. The official further stated that the vessels only turned away after they came within 300 yards of the destroyer. The US vessel was transiting international waters at that point of time. The IRGC did so post multipl audio and visual warnings from the US ship.

Elizabeth Trudeau, the spokeswoman for the State Department, said that incidents like these unnecessarily increase tensions. She also added that the United States is ignorant about what Iran wants.

US-Iran relations and international laws

These incidents are the latest in close encounters between Iran and the United States in the region. The incidents related to these encounters included rocket launches by the Iranians and drones flying close over American warships. US soldiers were also captured in January. These incidents have happened against a background of a renewal of US-Iran ties which has initiated a political backlash from Iranian hardliners. The IRGC is one of them.

The US Naval Forces Central Command and the USS Nitze, as a consequence of the incidents, have determined that concerned Iranian vessels have violated international maritime standards and also international laws. The IRGC have acted in an unprofessional and dangerous manner. As per the US version, the IRGC vessels had moved at speed towards the American warship and ignored the maritime conventions as set by 1972 convention related to International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

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