Fast-moving Iranian vessels equipped with ballistic missiles came “dangerously close” to three Royal Navy ships and a U.S. Navy surveillance ship over the weekend.
According to reports, the Iranian vessels approached the U.S. and UK Navy, forcing them to change their course in the Strait of Hormuz.
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The provocation of the USS Invincible and Royal Navy came around the same time that Iran successfully test-fired a pair of ballistic missiles destroying a floating barge in the same region.
Sky News reports:
The official said the boats attempted to get between the Royal Navy ships and USNS Invincible, before stopping within 600 yards of the US ship.
He added that attempts were made to communicate over radio, but there was no response and the interaction was “unsafe and unprofessional”.
Stand-offs between US ships and Iranian vessels have become a regular occurrence on the Strait of Hormuz, which is a narrow passage that leads from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea.
A large portion of the world’s oil passes through the strait on tankers, making it a strategically important route.
In January, a United States Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four fast-attack Iranian patrol boats which came within 800m of the ship.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed that Iranian ships which intimidate the US Navy would be “shot out the water” under his rule.
And, responding to the Iranian test of a new ballistic missile last month, he warned Tehran it was “playing with fire”.