WORLD Iran dismisses 'Hollywood' account of encounter in Gulf

WORLD

Iran dismisses 'Hollywood' account of encounter in Gulf

China Daily

13:02, April 21, 2020

Two Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels is seen next to the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton in the Gulf April 15, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)

TEHERAN-Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Sunday said the United States had given a "Hollywood" account of an encounter between the two rivals' navies in the Persian Gulf region, after Washington said Teheran's vessels had harassed its ships.

The US Department of Defense had accused Teheran of dangerous and provocative actions on Wednesday, saying 11 of the Guards' vessels "repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the US vessels at extremely close range and high speeds".

The US Navy release video of small Iranian fast boats coming close to US warships as they operated in the northern Persian Gulf near Kuwait, with US Army Apache helicopters.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, said in a statement on its official website that the US Navy "has presented an incorrect and agenda-fueled narrative of this encounter, which shows the Americans' interest in Hollywood stories".

It accused the US of "blocking the path" of Iranian ship Shahid Siavoshi on April 6 and 7 with "dangerous behavior while ignoring warnings".

The IRGC in response increased maritime patrols, the statement said, and encountered US warships on April 15.

The 11 patrol boats "forced them to draw back from the path of Sepah (IRGC) vessels, despite the provocative and unprofessional actions" of US ships, which ignored warnings. It said US warships later left the area.

According to a US Navy statement, its ships were conducting operations in international waters in the northern Gulf with the Apache attack helicopters.

"We advise Americans to follow international regulations and maritime protocols in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman and avoid any adventurism and false stories," the IRGC said.

'Decisive response' warned

It warned that any "miscalculation will receive a decisive response".

In a statement carried by Press TV, the IRGC Navy said that the "illegal" presence of US forces in the region is the source of insecurity in West Asia.

"The only way to establish sustainable security in this region is the complete withdrawal of Americans from West Asia," the statement said.

On Friday, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, Iran's defense minister, said that the US is the cause of insecurity in the Gulf, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The "illegal and aggressive" presence of the US forces in the Gulf has been the source of problems for the regional people, Hatami said on Iran's Army Day.

In a tweet on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also slammed the US presence in the waters to the south of Iran, saying that the US forces have come to the Gulf "7,000 miles away from its borders".

Tensions have risen between the two arch foes since the US withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.

They escalated when Washington killed IRGC top commander Major General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in January.

Agencies - Xinhua

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