Iran to confront any intruding vessel in Persian Gulf: Defense minister
Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan says Iran will confront any vessel intruding in its territorial waters after Pentagon officials claim Iranian speedboats “harassed” US warships in the Strait of Hormuz.
American officials said Wednesday Iranian boats sped close to two US Navy destroyers with their weapons uncovered in the Strait of Hormuz in an “unsafe and unprofessional” encounter.
“If any foreign vessel enters our waters, we will give them a warning and if it is an act of aggression, we will confront them,” Dehqan told reporters in the central city of Isfahan on Thursday when asked about the incident.
US Central Command spokesman Commander Kyle Raines said in a statement that Iranian vessels came within 300 yards (meters) of the American destroyer the USS Nitze which was accompanied by the USS Mason, another destroyer.
The destroyer “changed its course multiple times in close proximity to offshore oil rigs in an attempt to maintain separation,” Raines said, which confirmed the vessels were in the Iranian waters.
Dehqan said Iran’s naval units monitor all movements in the Persian Gulf.
“Naturally these boats constantly monitor the developments and foreign vessels’ movements and naturally this happens in the waters of our own country,” he said.
In January, the Iranian navy arrested the crews of two US patrol boats that had trespassed into Iranian territorial waters. Iran released them after deciding they had entered its waters by mistake.