US Navy fires warning shot near Iranian vessels, Iranian state news agency says

Iranian and US forces have reportedly engaged in another spat in the Persian Gulf as tensions between the two countries heat up following the US Congress’s approval of new sanctions against Iran.

A US Navy aircraft carrier fired a warning shot in an “unprofessional” confrontation with Iranian vessels, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard told a state news agency in the country.

The USS Nimitz and an accompanying ship came near an Iranian offshore oil platform in the Persian Gulf, and a helicopter from the ship hovered near vessels manned by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, the Islamic Republic News Agency said.

The confrontation occurred on Friday afternoon, according to the report. US Navy ships left the area following the encounter.

The US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet had no immediate comment.

The incident comes after a US Navy patrol boat fired warning shots on Tuesday near an Iranian vessel that American sailors said came dangerously close to them during a tense encounter.

Iran and the US frequently have run-ins in the Persian Gulf, nearly all involving the Revolutionary Guard, a separate force from Iran’s military that answers only to the country’s supreme leader. In January, near the end of then-President Barack Obama’s term, the USS Mahan fired shots toward Iranian fast-attack boats as they neared the destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian forces view the American presence in the Gulf as a provocation. They have accused the US Navy of unprofessional behaviour, especially in the Strait of Hormuz, the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil trade passes by sea.

Also Saturday, Iran’s parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy held an urgent meeting to review its response to a package of sanctions approved by the US Senate and sent to Donald Trump to be signed into law.

Deputy foreign minister and senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi told state TV that the sanctions package is a “hostile” breach…

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