US ship changes course after Iran vessel encounter

Two US defense officials described the Iranian vessel’s interaction as ‘unsafe and unprofessional’

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A vessel from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps came within 100 yards of a US military ship in the central Gulf on Sept. 4, two US Defense Department officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Iranian vessel sailed directly in front of the USS Firebolt, a 174-foot (53 m) coastal patrol vessel, forcing the US ship to change course in a maneuver they described as “unsafe and unprofessional.”

The incident comes after a similar occurrence in late August.

A US Defense official told Reuters in August that four vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “harassed” a US destroyer by carrying out a “high speed intercept” in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran also detained 10 US sailors on Jan. 12 after their boats entered its territorial waters because of what they said was a navigational error.

The US military’s concerns about Iran’s behavior in places like the Strait, one of the world’s most important oil shipping channels, have persisted despite the nuclear deal signed in April last year under which Tehran curbed its disputed atomic program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

(With Reuters)