On Wednesday, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander was quoted issuing a warning saying that a U.S. Navy ship changed course toward guard vessels in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday
On Monday, a U.S. official said that several fast-attack Revolutionary Guard ships came within 600 yards (550 meters) of the USNS Invincible, a tracking ship, which forced it to change direction
Mehdi Hashemi, guard commander, said that the incident was the fault of the U.S. ship. “The unprofessional actions of the Americans can have irreversible consequences,” he stated. This incident is the first between the countries’ navies in those waters since January.
Last year, Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran after a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which eased years of mutual animosity. However, major differences still remain between the two countries over Iran’s ballistic missile program and conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
On Wednesday, Hassan Rouhani Iranian president gave a warning but without referring to the Hormuz incident. Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state TV: “If Iran’s ignorant enemies think about invading Iran they should know that our armed forces are much stronger than 1980 when Iraq attacked.”
A tougher stand on Iran:
While campaigning for his presidency last September, Trump promised that any Iranian vessels that hassled the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water.”
On Tuesday, Trump’s administration stated that it would show “great strictness” over restrictions on Iran’s activities under the nuclear deal with major powers, without elaborating on the meaning of the statement.
January saw the last serious naval incident, when a U.S. destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait after they approached in at high speed and ignored repeated requests to slow down.
Captain Jeff Davis, Pentagon spokesman stated that dangerous exchanges concerning because they could lead to a “miscalculation or an accidental provocation”. He continued saying: “We actually had seen quite an improvement in Iran’s behavior until recently.”