1938 Alert, an update on the story below. “U.S. says Iranian boats harassed warships: Officials call it ‘provocative;’ Iran says ships didn’t recognize each other,” by Jim Miklaszewski for NBC:
WASHINGTON – Iranian boats harassed and provoked three American Navy ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, threatening to blow up the vessels, U.S. officials said Monday.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Monday the confrontation was “something normal” and was resolved, suggesting the Iranian boats had not recognized the U.S. vessels. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the Bush administration urges Iranians “to refrain from such provocative actions that could lead to a dangerous incident in the future.”
Military officials told NBC News that two U.S. Navy destroyers and one frigate were heading into the Persian Gulf through the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz when five armed “fast boats” of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard approached at high speed, darting in and out of the formation.
At one point a radio message from one of the Iranian boats warned, “You are going to blow up within minutes.”
The Navy warships went into defensive mode, radioed the usual warnings to steer clear, and in the end no shots were fired. U.S. military warships believe the Revolutionary Guard boats were “testing our defenses,” the officials said.
Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman called it a “serious incident.” Another U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called it “the most serious provocation of this sort that we”ve seen yet.”