The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has rejected the Pentagon’s claims that speedboats belonging to the elite Iranian force sparked an encounter with the US vessels, warning the Americans not to endanger shipping security in the Persian Gulf through “provocative” and “unprofessional” behavior.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the IRGC said the US navy’s account of the encounter in the strategic Hormuz Strait was “untrue” and part of an “escape-forward” strategy, calling on the American navy to refrain from “unprofessional behavior” and respect maritime regulations.
Earlier, the Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, claimed 13 IRGC boats had approached seven US vessels at high speeds, closing within 140 meters before one of the US vessels fired 30 shots in two volleys, until they moved away.
He accused the IRGC of harassing the US warships and said, “It’s unsafe, it’s unprofessional. It’s the kind of activity that can lead to somebody getting hurt, and can lead to a real miscalculation there in the region.”
In its statement, however, the IRGC offered a different story of what had actually happened and said its patrol vessels were conducting their “routine daily missions in the territorial waters” of Iran on Monday when they encountered seven US vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.
It said the Americans displayed unprofessional behavior such as “flying helicopters, shooting flares and aimless, provocative shooting.”
The IRGC Navy, the statement added, warned the US vessels against their “dangerous and unprofessional behavior while maintaining the legal distance within the framework of maritime instructions and regulations,” after which they corrected their behavior and continued on their way.
The Iranian force further urged the Americans not to resort to “false narratives and unprofessional behavior” and seriously adhere to international sea lane regulations.
The IRGC Navy said the “incorrect and untrue” claim by the Pentagon spokesman about the incident was aimed at pretending that the US forces feel responsible for preventing dangers and miscalculations.
“This is while it is the Americans that have, through their illegitimate presence, become the source of instability, threats and dangers, causing insecurity in the region, including in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf,” it pointed out.
It emphasized that powerful Iranian naval forces regard the “illegal, unprofessional and high-risk” attitude by outsiders, particularly the terrorist US navy, as a redline and are prepared to give a decisive response to any miscalculation courageously while conducting their missions in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz with peace.
Zarif mocks US: Whose coasts are you ‘guarding’
In a tweet, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to the fact that the waters that US naval forces are patrolling are close to the Iranian border and mocked Washington for dispatching coast “guards” to the Middle Eastern waters.
The encounter was the second such incident in two weeks.
On April 21, the IRGC released strikingly precise and close footage of an American aircraft carrier captured by the elite force’s drones during an overflight of the vessel in the Persian Gulf.
The Corps released the footage as means of vividly portraying its state-of-the-art advancements in the field of drone technology.