A US Navy ship fired warning shots toward an Iranian fast-attack craft that approached two U.S. ships, a Pentagon spokesman said on Thursday, in the most serious of a number of incidents in the Gulf area this week.
A U.S. defence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the USS Squall patrol craft fired three warning shots from a .50 calibre gun in the northern Gulf on Wednesday after warning flares did not work.
The incident started with three Iranian vessels, but there was only one around by the time the warning shots were fired, the official said. He described the Iranian behaviour as "unsafe, unprofessional, and not routine."
At one point, the Iranian vessel came within 200 yards (193 meters) of a U.S. ship, the official said.
On Thursday, Iran's defence minister said those Iranian vessels were just doing their job.
“If an American ship enters Iran’s maritime region, it will definitely get a warning. We will monitor them and, if they violate our waters, we will confront them,” Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said in a statement reported by the Iranian Students’ News Agency.