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United States warns Iran’s patrol ships in the Persian Gulf

Manama: The United States Navy has warned that the vessels sailing in the Gulf to stay 100 metres away from US warships or risk being ‘interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures’. Even though the US did not mention any nation, this warning seems to be issued to Iran. Last month, Iran’s patrol ships chased the US warships coming dangerously close to them. It is against this background that the US appears to have warned Iran. However, Iran responded that it will not consider the warning of the US Navy and continue patrolling in the Persian Gulf.

Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, the spokesperson of the 5th Fleet deployed in the Persian Gulf, issued this warning. “Our ships are conducting routine operations in international waters wherever international law allows and do not seek conflict. However, our commanding officers retain the right to self-defence if the patrol boats do not observe the 100-metre-distance”, said US Navy’s Cmdr. Rebarich. The US Navy had assumed a similar stance in the past as well. But, now it is only newly being reminded, clarified Cmdr. Rebarich.

This warning seems to be hinted to Iran, who continues to patrol in the Persian Gulf. Last month, about 11 Iranian patrol ships travelled in the Persian Gulf, sailing dangerously close to the US warship. The US Navy accused these Iranian patrol ships of sailing at a 10-metre close distance to the US warship. Then, the US Navy had also warned that had the vessels crashed into the US Navy ships, it could have sparked a major conflict in the Persian Gulf. Later, US President Donald Trump had ordered the US Navy to act against the Iran patrol ships. Thus, the warning issued by the US Navy this time seems to be the in-line with the US President’s earlier order.

On Wednesday, Iran responded to the US warning. Iran will not stop patrolling the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz because of US Navy’s warning butwould continue it. Last month, after US President’s orders to the US Navy to act against the Iranian Navy, Iran had replied by threatening the United States. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards threatened that they would sink the US warships if the US threatens the security of the Persian Gulf.

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