TEHRAN – Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Saturday that the U.S. naval forces should watch their provocative moves in the Persian Gulf region.
“The U.S. must more than ever monitor and control the conduct of its warships in the Persian Gulf,” he said.
He also dismissed reports about Iranian vessels’ “unprofessional behavior” in the Persian Gulf.
He said, “Reports released by American sources about unprofessional behavior of Iranian vessels are devoid of any truth.”
The U.S. navy claimed that its aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush was “harassed” and “threatened” by Iranian vessels while passing through the Strait of Hormuz on March 21.
Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, the commander of the Bush carrier strike group, described the alleged move as “unprofessional behavior”.
The U.S. Navy presence in the Persian Gulf, Iran says, has jeopardized the security and stability of the strategic region which the U.S. Energy Information Agency calls “the world’s most important oil chokepoint.”
Earlier in March, an official with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ navy said that unprofessional acts by the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf may have “irreversible consequences.”
The comments come after IRGC fast-attack vessels forced on Saturday the USNS Invincible and three ships from the British Royal Navy accompanying it to change direction in the Strait of Hormuz.
While warning, the U.S. warship had acted “unprofessionally” and had come within 550 meters of the boats, Hashemi added, accusing Washington of resorting to “lying” and “propaganda techniques.”
The encounter was the first time under the tough-talking U.S. administration.
The last serious naval incident was in January when a U.S. destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait after they closed in at high speed.
Also, in January 2016, 10 Americans, including one woman, were arrested by the naval forces of the IRGC after entering Iranian waters, released hours later.
The peaceful settlement of the development was itself the result of an international nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., which removed sanctions against the Middle East powerhouse in exchange for it rolling back its nuclear program.