Votel warns Iran against provoking US Navy in Persian Gulf
Stars and Stripes | .
published: August 31, 2016
WASHINGTON -- An uptick in recent provocative behavior toward American military vessels by a faction of Iran’s naval forces could lead to an international incident in the Persian Gulf, Gen. Joseph Votel warned Tuesday.
The U.S. Central Command chief blamed a hard-line group of Iranian naval commanders for the vast majority of recent “unsafe and unprofessional” incidents in international waters.
In at least three separate incidents last week, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard fast boats harassed American warships, leading in one case to the USS Squall, a coastal patrol ship, firing three warning shots into the water.
About 90 percent of the interactions were carried out by vessels of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, which is controlled by hard-line, anti-American clerics around Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Votel said. The United States is less concerned about actions by the regular Iranian navy, which are typically normal.