Iranian Navy warns US of irreversible consequences

Iranian Navy warns US of irreversible consequences

TEHRAN: An Iranian Navy commander has referred to the recent US actions in the Persian Gulf as “unprofessional”, adding that there could be “irreversible consequences” as a result of those actions.

His comments were directed at an incident on March 4, when a US vessel changed course towards Iranian warships in the Strait of Hormuz on March 4.

According to the Iranian commander, the USNS Invincible, a tracking ship accompanied by a group of British ships, was crossing the Hormuz Strait area, when it changed direction from the international route toward the boats of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) navy.

Iranian media reports citing Lieutenant Commander Mahdi Hashemi said, “In an unprofessional move and in a maneuver accompanied by warnings, it approached our vessels at a distance of 550 meters.”

According to reports, Hashemi said, “Such provocations can have irreversible consequences.” 

Moreover, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also issued a warning on Wednesday, without mentioning any specific incident, though.

In a speech broadcast live on state television, Rouhani said, “If Iran's ignorant enemies think about invading Iran they should know that our armed forces are much stronger than 1980 when Iraq attacked.”

On Monday, a US official told foreign media that it was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard which came too close to the tracking vessel USNS Invincible.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said that dangerous interactions were a cause for concern, as they could trigger a “miscalculation or an accidental provocation”.

“We actually had seen quite an improvement in Iran's behavior until recently,” he said.

In January, a US destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait following their refusal to slow down.

Two months earlier, the Pentagon claimed that a small Iranian ship pointed a gun at a US Navy helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz, in international waters.