US Navy ship fires warning shots at Iranian ship

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 25 July 2017 15:55 BST
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A Tomahawk missile is shot from a US destroyer. An American Navy ship was forced to fire warning shots at an Iranian ship in the Persian Gulf recently
A Tomahawk missile is shot from a US destroyer. An American Navy ship was forced to fire warning shots at an Iranian ship in the Persian Gulf recently

The United States Navy has reportedly fired warning shots at an Iranian vessel.

The US Navy patrol boat the USS Thunderbolt, a Cyclone-class patrol ship involved in an exercise in the Persian Gulf, reportedly shot the warnings during a tense encounter with the Iranian ship. A US official said that the Iranian naval vessel came within 150 yards (137 meters) of the Thunderbolt. The Iranian vessel reportedly didn't respond to radio calls, flares, or warning sirens. That forced the sailors aboard the US ship to use weapons to send their signal.

Iranian authorities didn't immediately respond to reports of the encounter, according ot the Associated Press. The US official spoke to reporters on anonymity since the US government hadn't made the interaction public yet.

The two countries frequently have tense exchanges in the Persian Gulf.

The warning shots come as tensions between the two countries have heightened, spurred on in part by anti-Iran rhetoric from President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump has issued sharp warnings to Iran recently over an ongoing dispute between Washington and Tehran over American citizens being held prisoner in Iran. The Iranian government has been critical of the US for holding Iranian citizens in its jails as well.

There will be "serious consequences" unless Iran releases American prisoners and stops using "hostage taking as a tool of state policy," Mr Trump said recently.

Mr Trump has been critical of a deal reached between his predecessor and the Iranian government, which eased sanctions in order to promote transparency from the Iranian nuclear programme. Still, even though Mr Trump had promised to "tear up" the agreement with Iran, his administration has already recertified the agreement, showing that Iran has complied with the agreement so far. Mr Trump, however, has proven to be unpredictable, and could decide that the deal is no longer working at any point - and could refuse to recertify the agreement, which is required every 90 days.

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