The US Navy said Tuesday that two Iranian Revolutionary Guards ships “aggressively” approached two American ships in the Gulf earlier this month, in the first such incident this year.
The incident comes at a time when talks are being held in Vienna between Iran and major powers over the United States’ return to the 2015 Iran nuclear program agreement, from which former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew.
The US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, said in a statement received by AFP on Tuesday that an Iranian ship “Harith 55” and three speedboats approached two US ships conducting routine patrols on April 2.
The Fifth Fleet said that “Harith 55 repeatedly at an unnecessary close distance” from the American ships “Rangel” and “Monomoy”, adding that the Iranian ship at one point reached a point 64 meters from these ships. .
The Fifth Fleet added: “Harith 55 approached strongly towards the Wrangel’s arc, forcing the latter to maneuver to avoid a collision, while five short bursts of sirens sounded.”
US Navy photos show an Iranian ship transiting past an American ship, which had to turn suddenly to avoid a collision.
The same source pointed out that “the American crews issued multiple warnings that did not prevent” Harith 55 “from continuing its” dangerous maneuvers. “
The statement added that the Iranian ships left after nearly three hours of face-to-face confrontation, which the US Navy considered “dangerous and unprofessional.”
Representatives of countries still part of the agreement concluded in Vienna in 2015 (Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom) from April 6, met in the Austrian capital with the aim of returning to the United States. The signatories to the agreement, and that Tehran once again respects its obligations to limit its nuclear program.
One year after the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from this agreement, in May 2018, and faced with reimposing of its harsh US sanctions, Iran has gradually begun to backtrack on its key commitments.
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