US destroyer fires warning shots at Iranian patrol boat

US destroyer fires warning shots at Iranian patrol boat
The Iranian patrol boat was said to be speeding at the USS Mahan when the American destroyer fired warning shots in the Straits of Hormuz.
2 min read
09 January, 2017
The USS Mahan is currently based in the Gulf waters off Iran [Getty]

A US Navy destroyer fired multiple warning shots at Iranian patrol boats as they sped toward the ship at the entrance to the Gulf, two US defence officials said.

The crew of the USS Mahan fired the warning shots after attempting to establish contact with the Iranians and dropping smoke flares, the officials said.

The US Navy occasionally has confrontations with Iranian naval forces in the Gulf but they do not usually reach the point of firing warning shots at vessels.

The US officials said the Mahan was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday when the Iranian boats sped toward it and failed to halt despite cautionary moves from the American craft.

There were conflicting initial reports on whether the Americans and Iranians had established radio communication before the warning shots were fired.

One official said the main concern aboard the Mahan was the speed with which the Iranian boats were approaching, rather than their proximity. This official said the boats were an estimated 900 yards away when the warning shots were fired.

The Iranian boats broke away after the warning shots were fired, and then made radio contact with the Mahan by asking its course and speed. Further details were not immediately available.

US relations with Iran are among the tougher foreign policy issues that President-elect Donald Trump will inherit next week when he succeeds President Barack Obama.