4 Iranian vessels made 'high-speed intercept' of U.S. warship

4 Iranian vessels buzz U.S. warship
(Image credit: CNN/YouTube)

On Tuesday, four Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) boats approached the USS Nitze near the Strait of Hormuz, two of the vessels slowing and turning course only after coming within 300 yards of the U.S. guided-missile destroyer, a U.S. Navy official told Reuters and CNN on Wednesday night. The vessels harassed the U.S. warship by "conducting a high speed intercept and closing within a short distance of Nitze, despite repeated warnings," the official said. "The Iranian high rate of closure... created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation, including additional defensive measures by Nitze."

The Nitze tried to contact the Iranian vessels 12 times but received no reply, and fired 10 flares, among other warning signals, the official said. The ship and U.S. officials have determined that the Iranians violated the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, and the U.S would lodge a diplomatic complaint if Iran and the U.S. had diplomatic relations. "For four decades the Revolutionary Guard have been told that America is the greatest threat to the Islamic Revolution," Karim Sadjadpour at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told Reuters. "This institutional culture hasn't changed after the nuclear deal." You can learn more, and see footage of the close encounter, in Elise Labott's report on CNN below. Peter Weber

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