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CENTCOM Commander Tells About Over 300 Incidents With Iranian Vessels Annually

Sputnik News

19:18 29.03.2017(updated 19:21 29.03.2017)

The US Navy registers more than 300 yearly incidents involving Iranian fast attack vessels in the Arabian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander Gen. Joseph Votel said in a congressional testimony on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Votel pointed out that between 10 and 15 percent of those incidents are "abnormal," "unprofessional" or "unsafe."

"The presence of these types of boats out there very seldom, if ever, prevent us from accomplishing our missions," Votel told the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. "If you look over a course of a year, I think we see probably 300-plus incidents of this kind of nature."

The CENTCOM commander explained that by using fast attack vessels, Iran tries to demonstrate its presence in the area and be provocative in some instances.

Tehran's objective is to be the reginal hegemon, Votel added.

This January, the US Navy destroyer Mahan fired warning shots at four Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz that were closing in on it at a rapid pace. The ship warned the Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats to stop before firing warning flares and a smoke float.

The incident was one of several confrontations between US and Iranian vessels around the Persian Gulf.

In August 2016, two Iranian naval patrol boats approached within 300 yards of the US destroyer Nitze while transiting the Strait of Hormuz, an incident the US Central Command deemed unsafe and unprofessional.

In November, US media reported that an Iranian vessel aimed weapons at a US Navy helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz.


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