The Iranian navy claimed Sunday that it warned an American warship that approached a damaged Iranian fishing vessel in the Sea of Oman last week to stay away from the area. U.S. officials denied the encounter.
“The dhow, Shams (Sun), had set sail from the port city of Jask in southeastern Iran to test its motor,” Iran’s navy said in a statement, according to state-run PressTV. “Forty-five miles (72 kilometers) into the sea, the vessel’s motor started to malfunction, prompting the sailors to alert the Iranian Navy.”
They added, “The American warship [the Tempest] left the area with a warning and the announcement of the Falakhan missile boat’s timely presence in the region.”
However, the United States denied any direct contact between the American and Iranian Navy vessels.
“At no time was there any direct contact between the U.S. and Iranian maritime forces,” U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) spokesman Chloe Morgan said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Reuters reported that the coastal patrol USS Tempest heard the distress call of the small fishing boat at about 75 nautical miles from the Tempest’s position on the Gulf of Oman on September 6 and approached it to help. The Iran-owned Nordic Voyager was reportedly also present and much closer to the damaged fishing boat.
But when the Tempest offered to support the Nordic Voyager’s rescue of the fishing boat, the Nordic Voyager reportedly declined.
IRGC Navy Chief Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi reportedly said, “The Persian Gulf belongs to the Islamic Republic and regional Muslim countries and the presence of US forces, as a foreign country in this region, is defensive and out of fear.”
PressTV wrote, “Iran’s naval patrols and US warships have been engaged in a series of face-offs in the Persian Gulf in recent months, where Washington has accused Iranian vessels of ‘harassing’ American warships.”
Breitbart News reported that Iran’s navy forces harassed the U.S. Navy in the Strait of Hormuz at least three times, just days before Donald Trump was sworn into office.
In April, a U.S. Navy destroyer reportedly had another close encounter with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard “fast attack craft” in the Persian Gulf.