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US measures in Persian Gulf sign of fear: IRGC commander

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A file photo of speedboats belonging to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps

A senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says recent moves by US warships and helicopters in the Persian Gulf are a sign of their fear.

“The Persian Gulf belongs to the Islamic Republic and regional Muslim countries and the presence of US forces, as a foreign country in this region, is defensive and out of fear,” Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the IRGC Navy, told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with IRGC commanders in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr on Monday.

As US mainland is thousands of kilometers away from the Persian Gulf, Washington is concerned and afraid of the situation in the region, he said.

The IRGC commander emphasized that the Islamic Republic was in control of the Persian Gulf and would definitely boost its power in the region.

Fadavi added that the enemy waged psychological warfare every now and then to disturb regional security, but has never been able to achieve its goal.

In a statement on Saturday, the IRGC Navy reported a second act of provocation by US warships in the Persian Gulf waters less than a week after a similar incident in the same region.

"At 4 p.m. local time (1130 GMT) on Friday, the supercarrier USS Nimitz and its accompanying warship, while being monitored by the IRGC Navy’s missile frigates, flew a helicopter near the Resalat oil and gas platform and approached the IRGC’s ships," the statement said.

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The development came a few days after a similar incident in the northern part of the Persian Gulf, where a US Navy ship sailed toward an IRGC Navy ship, which was patrolling international waters, and fired two shots into the air.

The IRGC said in a statement following Tuesday's incident that it had neutralized the US Navy move, which was made “with the aim of provocation and intimidation.”

Iran has also repeatedly warned that any act of transgression into its territorial waters would be met with an immediate and befitting response.

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A US Navy ship and three British Royal Navy boats were forced to change course when several Iranian fast-attack vessels approached them in the Strait of Hormuz in March.

In January last year, Iran's Navy arrested the crews of two US patrol boats that had trespassed on Iranian territorial waters. Iran released them after establishing that they had done so by mistake.

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