Nine sailors have lost their lives in direct clashes with the US Navy in the Persian Gulf, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, the Commander of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy, admited without giving further details.
The rear admiral gave the information while addressing Basij students at the former US embassy compound in Tehran, emphasizing that, however, IRGC forces have avenged the death of its troops, making Washington realize “Iran’s sovereignty in the maritime arena.”
Many of the incidents, according to Tangsiri, had not been reported by the media, pointing as an example the seizure of the Vietnamese oil tanker in the Sea of Oman on October 24 on which both Iran and the US and Iran gave contradictory accounts.
According to the Iran’s account, the IRGC forces had foiled a US attempt to seize the tanker loaded with Iranian oil, landing on the deck and diverting it into Iranian waters while the US forces were attempting in vain to pursue them with helicopters and warships.
IRGC has released the tanker on Nov 10, after intensive communication with Vietnam, which confirmed the events.
It has also published a video showing Iranian commandos boarding a helicopter and later landing on a tanker with machine guns pointed at the crew after which a voice warned in English a US ship to leave the area while several speedboats circled the tanker.
The Pentagon refused the Iranian claims as false and untrue with the US Defense Department spokesman, John Kerry, pointing that the US helicopter flew 25 yards away and circled the tanker three times.
According to a US official quoted by the New York Times, Biden administration didn’t publicize the event due to the current diplomatic sensitivities with Iran in a time when they attempt bring back Tehran to the negotiating table.
The Iranian territorial waters in the south are protected by Iran’s national army navy and the IRGC naval forces, which share the tasks with IRGC covering the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, while the army is responsible for and the northern Indian Ocean as well as the Gulf of Oman.