Iran rejects Pentagon’s claim, denounces U.S. ‘unprofessional’ behavior in Hormuz

May 11, 2021 - 21:32

TEHRAN - The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy has reacted to a claim by the Pentagon that the IRGC speedboats unprofessionally came close to an American vessel.

The IRGC Navy said in a statement on Tuesday that IRGC boats did not act unprofessionally and while they were conducting a regular and conventional operation, they encountered seven American Navy vessels committing “provocative, gratuitous and unprofessional behaviors such as flying helicopters, firing flares and aimless shooting.”

The statement said the IRGC boats maintained a legal distance from the American vessels in accordance with international maritime regulations and warned them against “dangerous and unprofessional behavior.”

The IRGC Navy statement came a day after Pentagon press secretary John Kirby accused Iran of committing “harassment” against the American navy in the Strait of Hormuz. Kirby claimed that the Iranian vessels maneuvered at high speed toward six U.S. Navy ships in the Strait. According to Kirby, the encounter led to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter firing two volleys of warning shots as Iranian boats sped toward the U.S. vessels. 

But the IRGC statement said Kirby’s account of the encounter was “untrue” and aimed to create a perception of American responsibility toward preventing miscalculations. 

“The Americans must avoid untrue stories and unprofessional behaviors and seriously abide by international regulations as well as the maritime and band control laws in the strategic region of the Hormuz Strait and the Persian Gulf,” the statement said. 

The IRGC Navy also said it will continue its missions in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf and it is ready to “decisively and courageously respond to any miscalculations on their [Americans] part.”

The Monday encounter also elicited a response from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who asked the U.S. Coast Guard that whose coast they are supposed to guard.

“@USCG: Exactly whose coast are you supposed to be ‘guarding’?” he asked on Twitter. 

Zarif’s tweet reflects a longstanding Iranian policy that the U.S. should move away from the West Asia region, especially the Persian Gulf where the U.S. has deployed a remarkable number of military assets. Iran has called on the Persian Gulf’s Arab states to enter dialogue on how to secure the region’s security without the presence of foreign military troops. To this end, Iran has presented the Hormuz Peace Endeavor, an initiative aimed at maintaining security in the Persian Gulf through cooperation among its littoral states.

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