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Iran's Navy Says It Briefly Seized U.S. Drones In Red Sea

By RFE/RL September 02, 2022

Iran's Navy said it briefly seized two U.S. surface drones in the Red Sea for the second time in recent days, saying the unmanned vessels jeopardized maritime safety.

"The [Iranian Navy] frigate Jamaran seized the two vessels on September 1 to prevent any possible accident after issuing warnings to the U.S. fleet. After international shipping lanes were secured, the two vessels were released in a safe area," Iran's state TV reported on September 2.

It aired footage that appeared to show more than a dozen Iranian Navy personnel pushing two drones into the sea from the deck of their vessel.

A U.S. official told Reuters that Iranian personnel initially covered the drones with tarps and denied having them before returning them to U.S. warships that arrived at the scene.

On August 30, the Pentagon said an Iranian ship had seized an American military unmanned research vessel in the Persian Gulf but released it after a U.S. Navy patrol boat and helicopter were deployed to the location.

The Islamic republic has been building up its naval presence in the Red Sea over the past decade to protect Iranian oil tankers and merchant ships against piracy.

Tehran has repeatedly warned the United States about its military activities in the Gulf, saying that Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces have increased patrols to also secure the passage of Iranian ships and combat fuel smuggling.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-united-states-seizes- drones/32016023.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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