A US coast guard ship fired about 30 warning shots as a group of 13 Iranian fast boats sped toward US navy vessels in the strait of Hormuz, in what the Pentagon called “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuvers by the naval arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGCN), New York Post reports.
John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the warning shots were fired after the Iranian fast boats came as close as 150 yards (137 meters) of six US military vessels, including the USS Monterey, that were escorting the guided-missile submarine Georgia.
“They were acting very aggressively,” Kirby said.
At one point, two of the Iranian boats broke away from the others and sped toward some of the US ships, coming dangerously close, the agency said.
The Coast Guard cutter Maui fired the warning shots from a .50-caliber machine gun before the Iranian vessels changed course.
It was the second time within the last month that US military vessels opened fire to warn ships from Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in the region. A day earlier, the Monterey had intercepted an arms shipment aboard a dhow in the Arabian Sea apparently headed for Yemen, whose Houthi rebels are supported by Iran.
“Sadly, harassment by the IRGC Navy is not a new phenomenon,” Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.
At least 13 armed speedboats of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard approached US Navy ships from behind.
“This activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and could lead to a real miscalculation there in the region, and that doesn’t serve anybody’s interests.”