US-Iran relations continue to become more and more strained, as a squad of Iranian vessels came after three American ships on Wednesday.
Four days before this happened, a similar incident took place. Four Iranian ships performed a high speed interception of the American vessel Nitze. The two Iranian vessel came within 300 yards of the US warship, a distance which US officials claim is unsafe, and unprofessional. The Iranian ships continued to harass the US one, in spite of the fact that the American crew tried to warn to back away.
The three ships involved in this more recent incident were the Stout, Tempest and Squall. Several smaller boats had approached the three ships all-throughout the day.
Three Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels came within 600 yards of Tempest and Squall, on three separate occasions. The ships barely managed to avoid a collision.
Tempest tried to contact the ship, but the Iranian crew did not respond. After this incident, a Naser-class WAP Iranian ship came straight towards Tempest, and stopped when it was about 200 yards away.
The two US vessels were in international water when the even occurred. Tempest fired three warning flares, to tell the Iranian vessel to get out of the way. But the vessel didn’t respond.
After that, Squall fired three warning shots from its .50-caliber gun. The Iranian vessel get out of the way only after Squall fired its guns.
During that same day, the destroyer Stout was approached by an Iranian vessel in similar fashion. Just like in the case of Tempest and Squall, the Iranian boat refused to communicate with the American ship, or move out of the way.
US-Iran Relations Are Already Strained
Eventually, Stout had to maneuver out of the way, to avoid a collision with the Iranian ship.
Finally, the last incident that occurred during that day involved Tempest, once again. Three Iranian vessels passed in front of it at high-speeds. Once again, they did not maintain a safe distance from the American vessel.
US-Iran relations is already quite tense. America and its allies are quite worried about the Iranian state for a number of reasons.
For one, Iran seems to be supporting Bshar al-Assad, Syria’s current president. It’s ballistic missile program is also cause for concern. And lastly, Iran has been quite supportive of Shiite militias. These militias have harassed Iraq civilians in the past.
The incidents were quite dangerous in and of themselves. But taking into consideration the already tense US-Iran relations, the situation seems even more grave.
Karim Sandjapour, an Iran expert, has said, “For four decades the Revolutionary Guard have been told that America is the greatest threat to the Islamic Revolution. This institutional culture hasn’t changed after the nuclear deal”
At this point, it is unclear if these incidents came as a result of direct orders from Tehran. They may very well be just the actions of rogue commanders.
Iran’s defense minister has declared earlier this week that Iranian naval forces are prepared to warn, and if need be, confront any foreign ship that sails into their national waters.
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