A U.S. Navy patrol ship known as the U.S.S. Thunderbolt fired warning shots at an armed Iranian vessel after the vessel came within 150 yards of it on Tuesday. Both boats were stationed in the northern end of the Persian Gulf, according to U.S. defense officials, who said the Iranian vessel ignored repeated warnings from the U.S. As the Iranian ship advanced toward the Thunderbolt at a high speed, the Navy issued radio communications, flares, and five blasts from their ship’s whistle, signaling that the boats were headed toward a collision. But U.S. officials claim that the Iranian ship, which belongs to the nation’s military, only halted its approach after the Navy fired two warning shots into the air at around 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
The Navy has since described the incident as “an unsafe and unprofessional interaction,” arguing that the Iranian vessel ignored the “rules of the road” and created “a risk for collision.” The Iranian military provided a much different account to its state news agency on Tuesday, where it claimed to have “foiled the U.S. warship’s provocative move.” The statement added that the warning shots from the U.S. aimed “to instigate and frighten the Iranian boat,” which “continued its mission” before leaving the zone.