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U.S. Navy Sees ‘Definite Change’ in Iran’s Provocative Behavior in Persian Gulf

FILE - In this July 2, 2012 file photo, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboat escorts a passenger ship, near the spot where an Iranian airliner was shot down by a U.S. warship 24 years ago killing 290 passengers in Persian Gulf. While U.S. President Donald Trump angered Iran with his …
AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File

American naval forces have reportedly seen a definite change in Iran’s behavior, noting that the Islamic Republic has apparently stopped provoking U.S. Naval ships in the Persian Gulf for nearly a year.

The change in the Iranian Navy’s behavior prompted a Naval Forces Central Command to tell media there has been no “unsafe and unprofessional” action since August 2017.

“It seems like they’ve absolutely made a conscious decision to give us more space,” Navy Commander William Urban, spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said, according to CBS News. “That is definitely a change in their behavior.” Urban reportedly did not speculate on the reason behind this change in the Iranian Navy’s behavior.

Prior to that, Iranian vessels had consistently and dangerously approached U.S. ships in the Gulf at high speeds.

In January, Breitbart News reported that Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, said Iran’s military had stopped harassing U.S. naval vessels in the Persian Gulf with their fast boats for a period of at least five months. At the time, Votel said he hoped the respite was “because we have messaged our readiness … and that it isn’t tolerable or how professional militaries operate.”

In January 2016, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had seized two U.S. Navy vessels, and ten American sailors with them, while they were navigating near Iran’s Farsi Island.

According to CBS News, “For the first eight months of 2017, the Navy recorded 14 instances of what it describes as ‘unsafe and/or unprofessional’ interactions with Iranians forces. It recorded 35 in 2016 and 23 in 2015.”

The last dangerous encounter between the U.S. Navy and Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf was recorded on Aug. 14, 2017, CBS noted. During that encounter, an Iranian drone reportedly shadowed the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier during the cover of night and came so close to several F-18 fighter jets that it put the lives of American pilots at risk.

This week, President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

One of the issues that divided Trump and Tillerson was the nuclear Iran deal, which Tillerson admitted to disagreeing with the commander-in-chief over in August.

After he fired Tillerson, Trump said, “When you look at the Iran deal: I think it’s terrible, I guess he thinks it was OK.” Trump added, “I wanted to break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not thinking the same.” He also said Pompeo — who must be confirmed — has a more “similar thought process” to him on the issue.

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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