Iranian Fast Boats Harass US Ships, Submarine in Strait of Hormuz

US ship fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats in Strait of Hormuz Pentagon

US Coast Guard ship fired around 30 warning shots at Iranian fast boats in latest tense encounter

The Iranian vessels left after 30 warning shots were fired, the Pentagon said.

This is the second time within the last month that U.S. military vessels have had to fire warning shots because of what they said was unsafe behaviour by Iranian vessels in the region, after a relative lull in such interactions over the past year.

A US vessel fired warning shots at more than a dozen Iranian fast attack boats which buzzed close to a US Navy submarine and escort ships in the narrow Strait of Hormuz on Monday, the Pentagon said. "This kind of activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and can lead to a miscalculation there in the region".

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The Maui fired its first volley when two of the Iranian vessels approached within 300 yards and the second when the pair approached within 150 yards.

The US Fifth Fleet said in a statement that two of the 13 IRGCN vessels broke away from the larger group, transited to the opposite side of the US formation and approached Maui and the patrol coastal ship Squall from behind at a high rate of speed (in excess of 32 knots) with their weapons uncovered and manned.

"The activities we typically see from the IRGC Navy are not necessarily activities that are directed by the supreme leader or from the Iranian state", U.S. Central Command's General Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie told a virtual audience last month. On April 26, the Navy patrol ship USS Firebolt fired warning shots at three Iranian fast-attack vessels in the Persian Gulf that came within 68 yards of it and the patrol boat USCGC Baranof.

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"It's an global waterway and of course when you're in the strait, there are certain limits to your ability to maneuver", he said.

The USS Monterey had intercepted a boat carrying arms shipments on Sunday in the Arabian Sea, the destination of which was suspected to be Yemen where Iran-backed Houthi rebels are fighting an ongoing war against the Saudi-backed government. "I mean, it is a choke point in the region". That was the first such shooting in almost four years.

Once a regular occurrence, Iran's harassment of American Navy ships in the Persian Gulf had ceased over the past year until an April 2 incident involving Iranian boats that swarmed two U.S. Coast Guard cutters.

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Though Monday's incident did not breach that boundary, Kirby said Navy commanders "have the means at their disposal to defend their ships and their crews".

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