The US Navy issued a sharp warning on Tuesday to Iranian ships not to come within 100 meters of its warships, or shelling is imminent.
It announced that ships in the Middle East that came closer to this American ship would “be interpreted as a threat and subject to legal defenses.”
The Navy has notified the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
It comes just a month after President Donald Trump ordered the Navy to fire at Iranian ships harassing American ships after a close encounter in the Persian Gulf.
The US Navy issued a warning on Tuesday that ships in international waters should not be closer than 100 meters to their ships. It comes a month after meeting Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf, pictured, which the US described as ‘dangerous and intimidating’
The U.S. Navy’s warning comes after President Trump sent a tweet to Tehran in April saying their boats would be ‘shot down’ if they harass U.S. Navy ships
Defensive measures typically include turning a ship away from the approaching ship, sounding the horn, firing flares, and eventually firing warning shots to push the ship away.
But offering a certain distance is new to the Navy.
“Our ships conduct routine operations in international waters where international law allows and do not seek conflicts,” said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Bahrain-based spokeswoman for the 5th fleet.
“However, our commanders retain the right to self-defense if deemed necessary.”
Although it seems 100 meters away, it is incredibly close for large warships that are difficult to turn, such as aircraft carriers.
The Navy issued a new message on Tuesday that all ships in international waters must remain within 100 meters of one of its ships. If not, they risk being confronted with defensive measures, including firing flares and eventually firing warning shots to push the ship away
The report targeted the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Sea, which seemed to be a direct warning to Iranian ships after a close encounter with American warships in April
It comes after the US accused Iran of conducting “dangerous and intimidating” maneuvers near US warships in the northern Persian Gulf in April.
Iran was also suspected of having seized an oil tanker sailing under the Hong Kong flag shortly before.
In April, Trump warned on Twitter, “I have instructed the U.S. Navy to shoot and destroy all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
Trump did not mention a specific event in his tweet or provided details, but it is believed to have been linked to an incident involving the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.
A group of 11 ships with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps repeatedly crossed the bow and stern of the fleet in April at high speeds – one passing within 10 meters of a coastguard vessel.
The “dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision,” said a statement by the United States Central Command, adding that US commanders on the spot “retain the inherent right to self-defense.”
Among the American ships was the USS Paul Hamilton, a Navy destroyer; the USS Lewis B. Puller, a ship serving as a floating landing base; and the USCGC Maui. Coastguard ships are part of US troops in the Gulf.
The ships operated with U.S. Army Apache attack helicopters in international waters, the statement said.
US troops issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, fired five short blows from the ship’s horns and long-range acoustic noise equipment, but received no immediate response from Iranian ships, officials said.
Eventually, after about an hour, the Iranian ships acknowledged the bride-to-bridge warnings and maneuvered away.
Iranian officials did not immediately recognize the incident.
A group of 11 ships with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the Bahrain-based 5th U.S. Navy fleet at close range and high speeds in an April incident – with one passing just 10 meters from the a coastguard cutter
Among the American ships was the USS Paul Hamilton, a Navy destroyer; the USS Lewis B. Puller (above), a ship serving as a floating landing base; and the USCGC Maui. The ships operated with U.S. Army Apache attack helicopters in international waters, the statement said. Trump threatened the Navy to shoot Iranian ships shortly after
However, following Trump’s tweet, General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for the Iranian armed forces, accused Trump of “ bullying ” and said the U.S. President should focus on caring for U.S. service workers infected with the corona virus.
His tweet was in the midst of a new escalating tension, with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard saying hours earlier that they had launched the country’s first military satellite, which the US considers a cover for missile development.
The US Navy has many years of experience in bringing Iranian forces closer, namely the hard paramilitary revolutionary guard.
Their armed speedboats routinely cut their paths as they sail through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20 percent of all oil flows.
Tensions between Iran and the US have been high since President Donald Trump America unilaterally withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.
Last summer, there was a series of escalating attacks on oil tankers and other locations around the Persian Gulf.
It peaked in January with the U.S. drone strike in Baghdad killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and an Iranian ballistic missile strike by U.S. forces in Iraq in retaliation.
Standoff: Tensions intensified when U.S. forces killed Iran’s most powerful general, Qassem Soleimani, in January. His Revolutionary Guard Corps launched the Nour satellite and also operates the patrol boats threatened by President Donald Trump in a tweet issued in April
Those tensions were expected to increase after the Iranian government overcame the initial chaos that had overcome its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Iran filed a complaint on Sunday with the United Nations and the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who represents US interests in the Islamic Republic, subpoenaed about possible measures Washington could take against an Iranian fuel shipment to Venezuela.
A senior Trump government official told Reuters on Thursday that the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-hit Venezuela.
The oil sectors of Iran and Venezuela, members of OPEC, are both subject to US sanctions.
The government official declined to specify the measures to be weighed, but these options would be put to Trump.
According to a report on the Foreign Ministry website, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi forwarded a message to the Swiss ambassador on Sunday warning of any US threat against Iranian tankers.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Iran “reserves the right to take all appropriate and necessary measures and decisive measures … to protect its legitimate rights and interests against such bullying and illegal practices,” Zarif wrote to Guterres.
“This hegemonic gun diplomacy is a serious threat to the freedom of international trade and navigation and the free flow of energy,” Zarif wrote.
“These efforts by the United States to take coercive measures to disrupt oil sales in Iran are a dangerous escalation.”
At least one tanker of fuel loaded in an Iranian port has left for Venezuela, according to Refinitiv Eikon’s ship tracking data on Wednesday, which could help reduce an acute gas shortage in the South American country.
Venezuela is in dire need of gasoline and other refined fuel products to make the country function in the midst of an economic collapse under Socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela produces crude oil, but infrastructure is paralyzed during the economic crisis.