U.S. Navy fires warning shots at Iranian gunboats in Persian Gulf

Around 8 p.m. on Monday, three armed IRGCN speed boats rapidly approached the coastal patrol boat USS Firebolt and the Coast Guard cutter Baranof to an “unnecessarily close range with unknown intent, coming as close as 68 yards of the ships,” the Navy said.

The U.S. vessels were conducting routine operations in international waters at the time of the incident, the Navy said.

The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings to the IRGCN boats over the radio and other devices, but the vessels continued their maneuvers, the Navy said. The crew of the Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the Iranian vessels moved away.

This is the first time the U.S. Navy has fired on Iranian vessels in nearly four years.

“The IRGCN’s actions increased the risk of miscalculation and/or collision,” and “were not in accordance” with international rules governing sea operations, the Navy said.

“U.S. naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense,” the Navy said.