Reports: Iran warns U.S. Navy ship, fighter jet to stay way
WASHINGTON — Iran’s military warned a U.S. Navy vessel and fighter jet Wednesday that they had come too close to the site of an Iranian naval drill, semiofficial Iranian news agencies reported.
The U.S. ship and fighter jet both left the area after the warning, according to the reports.
The incident happened a little more than two weeks after Iran seized two U.S. Navy boats — and 10 American sailors on them — within three miles of Iran’s Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter later said that “a navigational error of some kind” had led the U.S. Navy personnel there.
In Wednesday’s incident, the Iranian navy spotted the U.S. vessel and plane in the eastern area of the Strait of Hormuz near where Iran was conducting a naval drill code-named “Velayat 94,” according to Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim News Agency
Fars, another semiofficial Iranian news agency, identified the American Navy ship that was warned as the USS Monterey, a guided-missile cruiser.
The U.S. Navy described the incident as a routine announcement by Iran regarding its training exercises.
“Iran has announced closure areas for live fire events associated with its exercise,” U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Stephens said in a statement. “This is a common practice for any navy conducting such training at sea.”
He added: “Our forces similarly announce closure areas for our training events. We do not consider such announcements to be ‘orders.’ ”
The Tasnim report added that a similar situation involving “Western coalition” vessels took place Tuesday. It said the Iranian navy issued a warning and the vessels left the area.
Wednesday’s warning involved the regular Iranian naval force, not the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps naval unit that temporarily detained the U.S. Navy sailors this month.