Iranian vessel comes close to U.S. navy ship

Iranian vessel comes close to U.S. navy shipA U.S. Navy coastal patrol vessel was forced to change course after a fast-attack craft from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps came within 100 yards (91 meters) in the central Gulf on Sunday, U.S. Defense Department officials said on Tuesday.

It became at least the forth such incident during the last month. U.S. officials are concerned that these actions by Iran could lead to mistakes.

Captain Jeff Davis, Pentagon spokesman, said the Iranian vessel sailed directly in front of the USS Firebolt, forcing the 174-foot (53-metre) U.S. ship to change course.

The incident began when seven Iranian ships "harassed" the Firebolt, Davis said.

Other U.S. Defense official anonymously told Reuters the interaction was "unsafe and unprofessional due to lack of communications and the close-range harassing maneuvering," adding that uncovered and manned weapons were seen on the Iranian vessel.

Read also: "Iranian vessels "harassed" U.S. warship"

The U.S. official also said that during this year there were 31 similar interactions with Iranian vessels, which is two times higher from the same period last year.

"We don't see this type of unsafe and unprofessional activity from any other nation," the defense official added.

Unsafe maneuvers in the Gulf were part of the Iranian regime trying to exert its influence in the region, the head of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said last week.
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