Iran denies it harassed US ships in Persian Gulf

U.S. claims about Iranian vessels veering dangerously close to American warships were exaggerated and stemmed from fear of Iran’s power, a spokesman for Iran’s armed forces said Sunday.

“The Islamic Republic’s vessels always act in full awareness of international rules and regulations and based on defined norms,” Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. “Therefore the [American] claims are not only untrue, but stem from their fear of the power of the Islamic Republic’s soldiers.”

Gen. Jazayeri was responding to concerns voiced by U.S. officials about near-confrontations between U.S. ships and Iranian vessels in and around the Persian Gulf.

In one such incident last month, a U.S. Navy spokesman said four vessels from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps approached an American destroyer at high speed, ignoring radio communications and other warnings. Iranian boats also made a close approach to an American ship in the Strait of Hormuz in July.

While interactions between Iranian and U.S. ships are common, American officials have raised growing alarm recently about the risk of an escalation at sea between the two rivals.

Gen. Jazayeri, however, said American claims of close approaches weren’t accurate.

“When Iranian vessels pass the Americans a few kilometers from them, they claim that the Iranian boats have come within one kilometer,” he said.

U.S. officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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