On Wednesday, a U.S. Navy official told Reuters that four vessels belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) made “harassing” moves toward an American missile destroyer on Tuesday. The Iranian troops carried out a “high speed intercept” near the Strait of Hormuz. In doing so, they came within 300 yards of the USS Nitze, a move the official deemed “unsafe and unprofessional.”
“The Iranian high rate of closure … created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures by Nitze,” the official said. The USS Nitze had to alter its course to distance itself from the approaching ships.
According to Reuters, the IRGC “is suspicious of US military activity near Iran’s borders.” The Guard operates independently of Iran’s armed forces and are known to “stage frequent war games in the Gulf, which separates Iran from its regional rival Saudi Arabia and a US naval base in Bahrain.”
In January, two U.S. ships carrying 10 sailors were detained for 15 hours by the IRGC after crossing into Iranian waters during a routine training mission. The sailors were held in custody on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. A few weeks before that, Iranian gunboats fired unguided missiles 1,000 yards from the USS Harry S. Truman, a U.S. aircraft carrier.