Iran’s state news agency Press TV on Monday released footage of Arabian Gulf incident with U.S. Naval Forces.
On April 15, eleven Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels repeatedly conducted dangerous and harassing approaches of the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Sirocco (PC 6), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) while the U.S. vessels were conducting joint integration operations with U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in the international waters of the North Arabian Gulf.
The IRGCN vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds, including multiple crossings of the Puller with a 50 yard closest point of approach (CPA) and within 10 yards of Maui’s bow.
Iranian authorities dismissed the reports of harassment by Iranian vessels as “baseless.”
The IRGC’s statement said that U.S. forces had blocked one of its ships in two separate incidents in early April, using “dangerous behaviour while ignoring warnings”.
The IRGCN issued a statement on Sunday in response to recent claims by the U.S. Navy that 11 Iranian ships repeatedly came close to American military vessels in “dangerous and harassing approaches” in the Arabian Gulf.
“As has been said time and again, it is emphasized [once more] that the illegal presence of US terrorist regime is the [main] source and origin of mischief and insecurity in the region and the sole way to establish sustainable security in this region is the withdrawal of Americans from West Asia,” the statement read.
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The IRGCN added that during recent weeks, the U.S. naval forces have repeatedly behaved in an “unprofessional” manner in the Arabian Gulf, which has threatened regional peace and given rise to new risks.
“Therefore, in order to prevent the continuation of illegal, unprofessional, dangerous and even adventurist behavior of the American terrorists and also to ensure security for Iranian vessels and fight fuel smuggling, the IRGC Navy increased its marine patrols in the Persian Gulf and on Farvardin 27, 1399 [corresponding to April 15, 2020] … dispatched a group of its vessels, comprised of 11 boats, to the region, where they came face to face with the American warships and military vessels,” it emphasized.
The statement added that although the American vessels at first ignored warnings from the IRGC boats and behaved in an unprofessional and provocative manner, they finally had to clear the way for the IRGC Navy’s boats and leave the area.
“At the same time, the US Fifth Fleet, which is stationed in the region, offered an incorrect and purposeful narrative of this incident in its official statement, which signifies the interest of Americans in presenting a Hollywood-style account of what happened,” the IRGC said.
The U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and Army have been conducting joint interoperability operations in the North Arabian Gulf since late March.
U.S. naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense.