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Iran broadcasts own video of U.S. warships Gulf incident

RIA Novosti

10/01/2008 18:35 TEHRAN, January 10 (RIA Novosti) - Iran showed a video on Thursday apparently proving that its boats did not threaten U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf at the weekend, countering Washington's charges of "provocative and dangerous" actions.

Iran's state-run English-language Press TV said Iranian patrol boats had approached the U.S. ships to request identification. The Pentagon showed a recording on Tuesday saying that the Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz had threatened to attack them.

Tensions remain high between the U.S. and Iran over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, despite the release of a report by the U.S. intelligence community in December 2007 stating that Iran was not seeking to build nuclear weapons.

The Iranian five-minute video, provided by the Revolutionary Guards, showed three American vessels. It also showed an Iranian officer speaking via radio to a U.S. ship with number 73 on its side.

"Coalition warship 73 this (is an) Iranian navy patrol boat," the officer said in clear English.

"This is coalition warship 73. I read you loud and clear," the reply followed.

The Iranian officer then apparently asked the ships to identify themselves. "Coalition warship 73 this (is) Iranian navy patrol boat, request side number ... operating in the area (at) this time."

Iran's official Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini has meanwhile described the incident as a routine inspection and stressed that the situation was clarified after the navy ships were identified.

Washington said five Iranian vessels had threatened via radio to blow up the U.S. ships. The U.S. Department of Defense said the Iranian boats had retreated as the American warships were about to open fire.

Tehran earlier dismissed the American video as a fake.

"The video released by the U.S. Navy has been compiled of archive video files, and the sound has been fabricated," the Iranian TV quoted an unnamed Revolution Guards official as saying.

The Iranian video was released as U.S. President George W. Bush continued his eight-day tour of the Middle East.

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