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US Navy Ship Fires Warning Shot in Gulf Over Close Contact

A US Navy ship fired warning shots in the Persian Gulf after three boats from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp Navy came within an “unnecessarily close range with unknown intent,” the US Navy said Tuesday in a statement.

The US Navy patrol coastal ship USS Firebolt and US Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranoff were conducting “routine maritime security operations in international waters” during the time of the Monday evening incident. The Revolutionary Guards boats came within 68 yards of both US vessels, raising fears of a collision. The crews of the US ships issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, before firing the warning shots; the Iranian vessels then moved away to a safe distance, according to the statement.

The incident comes as Iran and the US have resumed indirect talks on the revival of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015 and that the US left in 2018 while reimposing crushing sanctions on Iran. It also comes a day after the US Navy announced that American and Iranian warships had close encounters earlier this month in the Persian Gulf, instigated by Iran, which could have led to a collision.

“The US is not an aggressor; our naval forces remain postured in a non-provocative manner that exemplifies professionalism, incentivizes adherence to international law and customs, and persuades others to emulate our actions.  Our forces are trained, however, to conduct effective defensive measures when necessary,” the statement concluded.