The United States Navy announced Wednesday that one of its warships issued multiple warnings to —and even fired warning shots at — Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels Monday, according to the Associated Press.
The Navy was patrolling international waters in the Persian Gulf when three fast-attack Iranian Guard vessels came within 68 yards of the Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Firebolt and U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranoff, the AP reported.
An American warship fired warning shots Monday night when vessels of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard came too close to a patrol in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy says. https://t.co/r3V8FVkNmB
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 28, 2021
“The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the (Guard) vessels continued their close range maneuvers,” 5th Fleet spokeswoman Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich told the AP. “The crew of Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the (Guard) vessels moved away to a safe distance from the U.S. vessels.”
The Navy put out black-and-white footage Monday night that shows lights in the distance while what sounds like a gunshot sounds off, according to the AP. A tracer round can be seen flying over the top of the water.
US Navy patrol ship fires warning shots at three Iranian military boats in the Gulf Sea in a worrying escalation in tensions pic.twitter.com/cytiMsWI3R
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) April 28, 2021
Rebarich called on the Iranian Guard to “operate with due regard for the safety of all vessels as required by international law,” reported the AP.
“U.S. naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner,” Rebarich added, “while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense.”
Incident happened at 8pm April 26 – 3 #Iranian fast inshore attack craft “failed to exercise due regard for the safety of other vessels as required under int’l law,” getting within 68 yards of the USS USS Firebolt & @USCG Baranoff, per @US5thFleet
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) April 27, 2021
This is the first such incident involving the U.S. military firing warning shots at an Iranian vessel in four years. The last time was in July 2017, when the USS Firebolt’s sister ship the USS Thunderbolt fired a warning shot in response to an Iranian Guard vessel getting too close for comfort, the AP reported. (RELATED: Iran Ramps Up Uranium Enrichment To Highest Levels Ever As Biden Seeks To Re-Enter Nuclear Deal)
President Joe Biden is meanwhile determined to make progress in negotiations with Iran over the regime’s nuclear program, given former President Donald Trump scrapped the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action brokered by the Obama administration.