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US ship fires 30 warning shots in encounter with 13 armed Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz

The US Coast Guard fired 30 warning shots after 13 Iranian armed speedboats came within yards of seven American military vessels in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday. 

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some of the Iranian fast boats came as close as 150 yards of six U.S. military vessels escorting the guided-missile submarine Georgia.

It was the second time in two weeks that a U.S. ship has opened fire to warn vessels of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. 

‘They were acting very aggressively,’ Kirby said of the Iranian boats. 

The Coast Guard cutter fired the warning shots from a .50 caliber machine gun before the Iranian vessels left, he added. 

Asked whether it appeared the Revolutionary Guard are trying to pick a fight with the U.S. Navy, Kirby declined to comment on the Iranians´ intentions.

‘Sadly, harassment by the IRGC Navy is not a new phenomenon. It is something that all of our commanding officers and the crews of our vessels are trained to for,’ Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

 ‘This activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and could lead to a real miscalculation there in the region, and that doesn’t serve anybody’s interests.’ 

  

The US Coast Guard fired 30 warning shots after 13 Iranian armed speedboats came within yards of seven American military vessels in the Strait of Hormuz Monday

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some of the Iranian fast boats came as close as 150 yards of six U.S. military vessels escorting the guided-missile submarine Georgia

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some of the Iranian fast boats came as close as 150 yards of six U.S. military vessels escorting the guided-missile submarine Georgia

In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast in-shore attack craft (FIAC), a type of speedboat armed with machine guns, speeds near U.S. naval vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz, Monday

In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast in-shore attack craft (FIAC), a type of speedboat armed with machine guns, speeds near U.S. naval vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz, Monday

In the latest incident, Kirby said 13 Iranian vessels maneuvered at high speed toward six Navy ships escorting the USS Georgia; the sub was sailing on the surface. 

The six Navy escort ships included the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey. 

A day earlier, the Monterey had intercepted an arms shipment aboard a dhow in the Arabian Sea apparently headed for Yemen, whose Houthi rebels are supported by Iran. 

At one point, two of the Iranian boats broke away from the others and positioned themselves on the other side of the U.S. ship formation. 

The two then sped toward some of the U.S. ships. 

In an attempt to de-escalate the situation, U.S. crews issued multiple warnings to both groups of Iranian boats, including repeated bridge-to-bridge verbal warnings, said Navy Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Navy 5th Fleet spokesperson.

After the two Iranian boats failed to respond to the multiple warnings and closed to within 300 yards, the Coast Guard cutter Maui fired a volley of warning shots from its .50-caliber machine gun. 

It fired another volley when the Iranian boats got within 150 yards.

The two Iranian boats then ‘altered course and increased their distance from the U.S. forces,’ Rebarich said.   

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: 'They were acting very aggressively,' said of the Iranian boats. The coast guard cutter fired the warning shots from a .50 caliber machine gun before the Iranian vessels left, he added

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: ‘They were acting very aggressively,’ said of the Iranian boats. The coast guard cutter fired the warning shots from a .50 caliber machine gun before the Iranian vessels left, he added

It was the second time in two weeks that a U.S. ship has opened fire to warn vessels of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard

It was the second time in two weeks that a U.S. ship has opened fire to warn vessels of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard

In the latest incident, Kirby said 13 Iranian vessels maneuvered at high speed toward six Navy ships escorting the USS Georgia; the sub was sailing on the surface

In the latest incident, Kirby said 13 Iranian vessels maneuvered at high speed toward six Navy ships escorting the USS Georgia; the sub was sailing on the surface

At one point, two of the Iranian boats broke away from the others and positioned themselves on the other side of the U.S. ship formation. The two then sped toward some of the U.S. ships

At one point, two of the Iranian boats broke away from the others and positioned themselves on the other side of the U.S. ship formation. The two then sped toward some of the U.S. ships

U.S. sailors aboard the guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) prepare to pull into port to exchange personnel during a scheduled deployment in Diego Garcia, Aug. 13 2013

U.S. sailors aboard the guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) prepare to pull into port to exchange personnel during a scheduled deployment in Diego Garcia, Aug. 13 2013

Asked if the US vessels are allowed to fire directly on the Iranian boats and sink them, Kirby declined to describe their rules of engagement.

However, he added: ‘They have the right of self defense and they know how to use that.’ 

Kirby pointed out that the Iranian actions took place in the Strait of Hormuz, where ships have little room to move.

‘It’s an international waterway and of course when you’re in the strait, there are certain limits to your ability to maneuver,’ he said.

‘It is a choke point in the region. So it’s not insignificant that this kind of dangerous, unsafe and unprofessional behavior occurred there.’ 

The image above shows a photo released by the US Navy claiming to be an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Vessel cutting in front of the US Coast Guard ship USCGC Monomoy in the Persian Gulf on April 2

The image above shows a photo released by the US Navy claiming to be an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Vessel cutting in front of the US Coast Guard ship USCGC Monomoy in the Persian Gulf on April 2 

Iranian ship Harth 55 is seen cutting across the bow of the USCGC Wrangell in the Persian Gulf on April 2, the first such encounter in nearly a year

Iranian ship Harth 55 is seen cutting across the bow of the USCGC Wrangell in the Persian Gulf on April 2, the first such encounter in nearly a year

On April 26, an American warship fired warning shots when vessels of Iran´s Revolutionary Guard came too close to a patrol in the Persian Gulf. 

That was the first such shooting in nearly four years. 

The Navy released black-and-white footage of that encounter in international waters of the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf near Kuwait, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The encounters come as the United States and Iran are in indirect talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the United States left in 2018. 

The incidents at sea almost always involve the Revolutionary Guard, which reports only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured in April 2020)

The incidents at sea almost always involve the Revolutionary Guard, which reports only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured in April 2020)

In early April four Revolutionary Guard vessels, three fast attack craft and a large Harth 55 catamaran similarly came close to two US Coast Guard patrol ships, crossing their bows while ignoring warnings.

No shots were fired in that encounter. 

The incidents at sea almost always involve the Revolutionary Guard, which reports only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Some analysts believe the incidents are meant in part to squeeze moderate President Hassan Rouhani´s administration after the 2015 nuclear deal. 

They include a 2016 incident in which Iranian forces captured and held overnight 10 US sailors who strayed into the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters.

The incident comes as Iran negotiates with world powers in Vienna over Tehran and Washington returning to the 2015 nuclear deal. 

It also follows a series of incidents across the Middle East attributed to a shadow war between Iran and Israel, which includes attacks on regional shipping and sabotage at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk