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Emboldened by U.S. retreat, Iran intensifies the pressure.
 
10/20/2020
 

Iranian Vessels Harass U.S. Warships in the Persian Gulf

Emboldened by U.S. retreat, Iran intensifies the pressure.

BY WARREN REINSCH

Eleven Iranian speedboats surrounded and harassed a fleet of United States Navy warships traversing the northern Persian Gulf on Wednesday. The smaller, faster Iranian vessels came within 50 yards of the USS Lewis B. Puller, an expeditionary sea-base vessel, and came within 10 yards of colliding with a U.S. patrol boat.

The U.S. Navy released a statement saying that the Iranian vessels “repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds” while the U.S. was conducting integration operations with Apache attack helicopters.

The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard issued several warnings to the Iranians via radio, horns and other devices, none of which were initially heeded by the Iranians. A video showed one Iranian soldier manning an “unclipped” mounted gun and pointing it at the warships before speeding in front of them. Only after an hour of showing off and harassing the U.S. fleet did Iran finally respond and keep its distance.

 
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