A US Navy ship fired warning shots at an armed Iranian patrol boat Tuesday in the northern end of the Persian Gulf, according to two US defense officials. After the Iranian vessel did not respond to radio calls, flares, or warning sirens, US sailors were forced to fire warning shots. There were several US Navy ships in the immediate vicinity at the time of the incident conducting routine patrol operations in worldwide waters, according to the defense officials.
The Iranian ship then halted its approach, concluding an event in which the Navy told Newsweek that Iran failed to comply with the 1972 International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs).
This episode is only the latest in a series of clashes between american ships and vessels iranians. The action was described by the USA military as "unsafe and unprofessional".
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a paramilitary force that answers directly to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The U.S. official said it was "out of the norm" for an Iranian military ship to "come in that close at that rate of speed".
In January, the USS Mahan destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels that approached at high speed in the Strait of Hormuz. But serious differences remain over Iran's ballistic missile program and conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
The episode marks the latest in a series of close encounters between United States ships and Iranian naval vessels.