Top Commander: Iran Prevents US Illegal Moves in Persian Gulf
“The trans-regional forces’ moves in our territorial waters are illegal and we warn them based on the law and the principle of might and prevent such moves,” General Baqeri said in the Southeastern province of Sistan and Balouchestan on Monday.
Asked about the recent incidents between the Iranian and US vessels in the Persian Gulf, he said that their claims about Iran’s reaction are void.
His remarks came after the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy’s fourth naval zone announced in a statement on Saturday that the US naval forces have for the second time in a week made a provocative move in the Persian Gulf.
“The USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and an accompanying cruiser flew a helicopter and approached the IRGC’s vessels on Friday 4pm while they were monitored and traced by the missile-launching frigates of Zolfaqar Naval regiment of the IRGC Navy’s fourth zone in Resalat oil-gas region (in the middle parts of the Persian Gulf),” the IRGC Navy said in a statement on Saturday.
It added that the incident happened a few days after another US cruiser had fired warning shots at an Iranian vessel in the Northern parts of the Persian Gulf.
The statement blasted the “Americans’ provocative and unprofessional move”, and said the IRGC vessels continued their mission in the region after the US warships fired warning flares, forcing the US aircraft carrier and cruiser to leave the region.
The IRGC Navy said last Tuesday that it has frustrated a provocative move by a US navy ship in the Persian Gulf after it allegedly fired warning shots at an Iranian vessel.
“This morning, a US Navy ship in the Northern part of the Persian Gulf sailed towards an IRGC Navy’s patrol ship, which was patrolling in international waters, and fired two shots into the air with the aim of provocation and intimidation,” the IRGC said in a statement.
The IRGC Navy’s ship paid no attention to the “provocative and unprofessional” move by the US Navy and continued with its mission, it added.
“After a while, the US Navy ship left the area,” the IRGC said.
The IRGC issued the statement after some Western media outlets quoted a US official as saying that a US Navy ship had fired warning shots toward an Iranian vessel near the Northern Persian Gulf on Tuesday after the Iranian vessel came within 150 yards (137 meters) of it.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claimed the USS Thunderbolt fired the warning shots after the Iranian vessel ignored radio calls and the ship’s whistle.
Iran has also repeatedly warned that any act of transgression into Iran’s territorial waters would be met with an immediate and befitting response.
A US Navy ship and three British Royal Navy boats were forced to change course when several Iranian fast-attack vessels approached them in the Strait of Hormuz in March.
In January last year, Iran’s Navy arrested the crews of two US patrol boats that had trespassed on Iranian territorial waters. Iran released them after establishing that they had done so by mistake.