Iran General NewsU.S., Iran boats have brief hostile encounter

U.S., Iran boats have brief hostile encounter

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Wall Street Journal: A small U.S. Coast Guard boat fired a single shot toward an armed Iranian-flagged ship in the Persian Gulf during a brief encounter on Tuesday, a potentially provocative incident in a volatile area. U.S. officials emphasized that the situation didn’t escalate and that both vessels ended contact after the warning shot was fired.

 

The Wall Street Journal

By Julian E. Barnes

WASHINGTON—A small U.S. Coast Guard boat fired a single shot toward an armed Iranian-flagged ship in the Persian Gulf during a brief encounter on Tuesday, a potentially provocative incident in a volatile area.

U.S. officials emphasized that the situation didn’t escalate and that both vessels ended contact after the warning shot was fired.

The Coast Guard Patrol Boat Monomoy, working in the Persian Gulf, had been in contact with the bridge of the Iranian dhow, a traditional vessel common in the Middle East, when the Iranian crew abruptly broke off the conversation, U.S. defense officials said.

The Coast Guard dispatched a small boat from the Monomoy to investigate, said Navy Commander Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Cmdr. Stevens said the crew of the dhow aimed a .50 caliber machine gun at the Coast Guard boat, demonstrating “hostile intent.” In response, the small Coast Guard boat fired a single shot. The incident occurred around 11:30 a.m. local time, Cmdr. Stevens said.

“There is no indication whether or not the shot struck the dhow,” Cmdr. Stevens said, adding the Iranian crew didn’t react and departed the area.

Iranian officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Coast Guard Patrol Boat was conducting routine maritime security operations in the Persian Gulf, keeping the sea lanes clear and monitoring the area for illicit activity.

U.S. officials believe the armed dhow was an Iranian government vessel, possibly affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The corps have used dhows in the past to smuggle weapons from Iran to Yemen and elsewhere.

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