The US navy on Tuesday, April 27, admitted that it fired on Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf region. The American navy’s fifth fleet claimed in a statement that shots were fired at the Iranian vessels when they came close to its patrol ships USS Firebolt and USCGC Baranoff “unnecessarily and with unknown intent” around 8 pm local time on Monday.
According to the statement, the US navy ships were “conducting routine maritime security operations in international waters during the time of the incident.” The US navy claims that it gave “multiple warnings” before firing “warning shots” at Iranian vessels following which “they moved away to a safe distance.”
The Iranian navy has not issued any statement about the encounter yet. If confirmed, this will be the second such incident this month. The US navy has claimed that an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) vessel had threatened a US coast guard vessel on April 2.
The present escalation comes after almost a year-long thaw in the Persian Gulf between both the countries. Last year, there was an escalation of US naval deployment in the Persian Gulf after the US assassinated IRGC commander Qaseem Soleimani in Baghdad. The Donald Trump administration had also blamed Iran – without providing any proof – for several attacks on ships in the region belonging to its allies last year.
On the other hand, Iranian vessels have been facing several attacks in the region in the past couple of months. Earlier this month, an Iranian ship was attacked in the Red Sea. In March an Iranian ship was attacked in the Mediterranean Sea. Iran had blamed Israel for those attacks.
Israel has used the Lebanese air space to also launch numerous air strikes inside Syria since the beginning of the war in that country.
In a report published last month, US officials admitted that Israel, a close US ally, had carried out several attacks on Syria-bound ships since 2019.
The relations between Iran and the US have deteriorated since 2018 when the Donald Trump administration decided to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal. The Trump administration also imposed numerous sanctions on Iran. Though negotiations have taken place under the newly elected Joe Biden administration which has expressed its desire to re-join the deal and lift the sanctions on Iran, Israel and regional allies of the US have expressed their opposition to it.