On Wednesday, Iranian ships “harassed” U.S. ships on three separate occasions, including one instance that provoked a coastal patrol ship — the USS Squall — to fire three warning shots. According to Navy spokesman Commander Bill Urban, shots were fired after an Iranian boat approached the USS Squall head-on, coming within 200 yards. “This situation presented a drastically increased risk of collision,” he told AFP on Thursday. “Ultimately, Squall resorted to firing three warning shots from their 50-caliber gun, which caused the Iranian vessel to turn away.”
This altercation comes a day after it was reported that Iranian vessels carried out a “high speed intercept” near the Strait of Hormuz. The ships came within 300 yards of the USS Nitze, a move that U.S. officials called “unsafe and unprofessional.” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters Thursday that the other close calls this week involved the USS Tempest and USS Stout. All of the instances took place in international waters in the northern Persian Gulf.
In January, 10 soldiers were detained for 15 hours after two U.S. ships blundered into Iranian waters. The month before that, Iranian fired rockets near U.S. warships and flew drones over the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.
According to Fox News, “Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Gen. Hosein Dehghan as saying Thursday that ‘if any foreign vessel enters our waters, we warn them, and if it’s an invasion, we confront.’ He added that Iranian boats patrol to monitor traffic and foreign vessels in its territorial waters.”