Iran's Revolutionary Guards say Gulf patrols increased after US claims of harassment

Iran's Revolutionary Guards say Gulf patrols increased after US claims of harassment
Tehran has accused the US of 'dangerous adventurism' in the Gulf waters, warning that such activity constitutes a 'red line'.
2 min read
20 April, 2020
Washington last week accused the IRGC of harassing a Navy vessel [Getty]
Iran's Revolutionary Guards have increased patrols in the Gulf amid rising tensions over US military activity in one of the world's busiest shipping routes.

Attention last week returned to the Gulf waters, the site of several tanker seizures and sabotage attacks last year, after Washington accused Tehran of the "dangerous" harassment of US Navy ships.

Iran has rebutted that as an "agenda-fuelled narrative", claiming instead that US Navy vessel was blocking the path of an Iranian ship.

In response to the incident, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has increased patrols in the Gulf and warned the US over its military activities, Reuters reported.

"We advise the Americans to follow international regulations and maritime protocols in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and to refrain from any adventurism," the IRGC said in a statement on Sunday.

"They should be assured that the Revolutionary Guards navy and the powerful armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran sees the dangerous actions of foreigners in the region as a threat to national security and its red line and any error in calculation on their part will receive a decisive response."

Tensions between the two arch foes have reached fever pitch since Washington withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.

They escalated when the US killed IRGC top commander Major General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in January, sparking fears of a full-frontal conflict.

Iran later retaliated by firing a volley of ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases hosting US troops, injuring dozens of personnel.

A spate of tanker seizures and attacks on oil infrastructure hit the Gulf last year, with the US and its allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, mainly blaming the incidents on Iran.

Such incidents cooled off after the summer but fears of further attacks have risen, with a private maritime intelligence firm recently warning of a rise in suspicious incidents in the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of all oil is traded.

Dryad Global's caution was followed last week by the brief seizure of a Hong Kong-flagged tanker ship.

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