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article imageOp-Ed: Iranians call US naval Gulf operation illegal and provocative

By Ken Hanly     Apr 19, 2020 in Politics
The first official Iranian response to US allegations that Iranian speed boats have been dangerous and provocative in approaching close to US vessels came Friday from the Iranian Defense Ministry.
Iranian response to US accusations
The Ministry claimed that the US charges were baseless and that it was the US "illegal and provocative" US presence in the area that it causing insecurity.
Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami told reporters in the capital Tehran: “What leads to insecurity in the Persian Gulf region is actually the illegal and aggressive presence of the Americans who have come from the other end of the world to our borders and make such baseless claims."
The US military claimed that 11 vessels from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) came dangerously close to US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf calling their moves "dangerous and provocative" A US military statement said:"The IRGCN's dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, [and] were not in accordance with the internationally recognised Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea."
The US said that it was carrying out integration operations with six military vessels and helicopters in international waters. The Iranian ships stayed in the area about an hour. They were warned to stay away by the US ships.
US actions are provocative
These actions may be in international waters but they are just off the coast of Iran. Surely if the Iranian military carried out similar operations just off the US coast there would at the very least be a similar attempt to monitor and even harass the Iranian ships.
The US would surely be aware that if they were to carry out such exercises near the Iranian coast that the Iranians would send out ships or planes to investigate the actions. Fortunately so far nothing further has happened to exacerbate the situation. However, it is clear that continuing US presence close to the Iranian coast is bound to create a situation where there can be more instances of this sort. The US thinks it can defect any responsibility by noting that it is vessels are in international waters. This may make their operation legal but it hardly makes it not provocative.
I have not seen any explanation of why the Iranians think the US action is illegal but it remains provocative.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Iran US relations, Iran, US navy in the Gulf
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