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IRGC’s Military Vessels Come Close to US Warship in Persian Gulf, US Says

12 July 2016 12:01

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Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Monday dispatched five military vessels to monitor a US warship hosting one of America’s top generals on a day trip through the Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf, coming as close as 500 yards (meters), an American commander said.

“As you’ve seen in a relatively compressed space here, there is great opportunity for miscalculations,” Army General Joseph Votel, head of the US military’s Central Command, told reporters on Monday, Reuters reported.

According to the report, the five Iranian vessels consisted of four speedboats, three with mounted machine guns, as well as a guided missile patrol ship.

One of the four speedboats that reportedly approached the New Orleans and its escort, a US Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Stout, cut its engines and watched as the US warships passed.

An hour earlier, a larger Iranian guided-missile patrol craft came by.

US officials stressed that such approaches fell within the category of professional interactions, the kind they see during 90 percent of the US Navy’s roughly 250 transits through the Strait of Hormuz each year.

“We don’t always have a lot of time to deal with those interactions. I think what we’ve probably learned here today is that it’s measured in minutes,” Votel said.

Back in January, the IRGC Navy captured 10 US Navy sailors near Farsi island inside Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, but released them a day later following an apology and after technical and operational investigations indicated that the intrusion was unintentional.

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