Navy destroyer has close encounter with Iranian vessel in Persian Gulf

Katie RamirezApr 27, 2017

A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer was involved in a tense confrontation with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

United States seamen were forced to man weapons, fire flares and sound the danger alarm as they drew closer to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard "fast attack craft". The incident is the most recent evidence of escalating hostilities between America and Iran. The incident comes amid building tension as President Trump reviews all government policies toward Iran with an eye toward re-negotiating or rescinding the controversial nuclear development agreement negotiated between Tehran and five Western nations.

Navy spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey said the flare was finally deployed to "determine the Iranian vessel's intentions". The vessel later turned and sailed away.

The Mahan attempted bridge-to-bridge communication with the Iranians but got no response.

But he said despite the provocations, the Mahan did not fire any warning shots.

USA military officials described the Iranians' behavior as "unprofessional, but also provocative" as they clarified the details of the incident.

The USS Mahan had a similar clash with the Iranian navy in January.

US Defense officials said at the time that despite radio calls, flares, bells and whistles to signal the Iranian ships to stay away, they had no effect.

Iran has been trying to make its presence notable in the Persian Gulf over the years especially along the Strait of Hormuz.

The close encounter comes after USA secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, slammed Iran for its nuclear weapons programme. In 2016, after the Obama deal was signed, 35 incidents with Iranian military forces that were deemed as either "unsafe" or unprofessional occurred. With Monday's event, there have been seven so far in 2017, McConnaughey said.

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