Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard boats have harassed US warships, according to a new report, coming dangerously close. The incidents happened in the Persian Gulf according to reports with one ship coming within “10 yards of colliding,” Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr tweeted Wednesday.
The US says that the IRGC vessels conducted unsafe and unprofessional actions, coming around ships’ bows and sterns at close range in the North Arabian Gulf. They harassed the USS Lewis Puller which was supporting US 5th fleet operations. The Puller is operating Apache helicopters as a floating base, which some have alleged is a message to Iran.
The Iranian naval harassment comes as Iranian media recently reported it had conducted underwater mapping last week for its submarines. A Hong-Kong flagged tanker also reported being boarded by armed men, suspected to be linked to Iran, before the men left on Tuesday. Last July the USS Boxer downed an Iranian drone using jamming equipment.
Iran is struggling to confront a massive coronavirus outbreak and it has been angry that US sanctions are not being lifted. It has been seeking to harass US forces in Iraq. It sent the head of its national security council to Iraq in March to coordinate pressure against the US and sent IRGC head Esmail Ghaani to Iraq in early April to speak with pro-Iranian groups.