A U.S. Navy destroyer had another close encounter with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard “fast attack craft” in the Persian Gulf Monday.
Two U.S. officials tell Fox News that the Iranian ship came within 1,000 yards of the guided missile destroyer USS Mahan with its weapons manned.
The officials said the Mahan altered course to avoid the Iranian warship, sounded the danger signal, fired flares and manned its own weapons.
The Iranian ship did not come closer than 1,000 yards and no warning shots were fired.
“Coming inbound at a high rate of speed like that and manning weapons, despite clear warnings from the ship, is obviously provocative behavior,” said one American official in describing the Iranian actions.
In January, USS Mahan fired warning shots at four Iranian vessels near the Strait of Hormuz. In that incident, the Mahan tried to order the boats to stop via bridge-to-bridge radio communication, but the vessels didn’t respond, prompting the destroyer to fire three warning shots with a .50 caliber machine gun.
According to the U.S. military, Iran harassed U.S. Navy warships through “unprofessional” interactions at least 35 times in 2016, a jump of more than 50 percent from the previous year.
Among the most notable incidents from that period:
– In late November, an Iranian small boat in the Strait of Hormuz trained a machine gun on a U.S. Navy helicopter.
– U.S. warships have been targeted by rebels in Yemen who are being supplied and supported by Iran.
– In September, Iran threatened to shoot down Navy aircraft it said was encroaching on its airspace.
– In early September, seven Iranian boats harassed a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf.