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U.S.-Iranian Skirmishes in Strait of Hormuz | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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USS Mahan, pictured in 2008, fired warning shots in the Strait of Hormuz (AFP Photo/Class Jason R. Zalasky)

New York, Washington, Riyadh- The Strait of Hormuz witnessed on Sunday a skirmish between a U.S. Navy destroyer and Iranian vessels linked to the “Revolutionary Guards” after they closed in at high speed, officials at the U.S. Pentagon uncovered on Monday.

According to those officials, the USS Mahan fired several warning shots at the Iranian fleet and forced it to go away.

Two defense sources told Reuters that the USS Mahan, a guided-missile destroyer, fired three warning shots at the Iranian fleet after at least one vessel travelled within 800 meters of the ship.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said a group of four fast-attack boats of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps navy had ignored multiple attempts by the crew of the USS Mahan to warn them away.

According to AFP, the crews of the small Iranian rapid attack boats were manning their weapons as they sped toward the American ship.

“Mahan established radio communications with the IRGCN vessels and issued multiple radio and visual warnings to remain clear,” a U.S. defense official said.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards boats regularly approach U.S. warships in international waters and the Strait of Hormuz, ignoring U.S. radio messages and giving little indication of their intentions.

Later on Monday, U.S. officials described the behavior of the Iranian fleet as “unsafe and unprofessional.”

The skirmish comes as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is paving his way towards assuming power on Jan. 20.

Last September, Trump vowed to destroy any Iranian vessel that disturbs the U.S. navy.
Separately, the U.N. Security Council is expected to discuss next week the Iranian file.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern to the Security Council that Iran might have violated an arms embargo by supplying weapons and missiles to Lebanese group “Hezbollah,” according to a confidential report, seen by Reuters on Sunday.

The report also cites an accusation by France that an arms shipment seized in the northern Indian Ocean in March was from Iran and likely bound for Somalia or Yemen.