Iran will pursue US warships in Persian Gulf: Iranian Navy Chief

The Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy chief has said a recent incident with US forces in the Persian Gulf happened as they entered a drill area despite having been warned in advance not to approach it.

According to Press TV report on Saturday, Iranian Navy chief, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said US forces will be pursued in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman.  “They had entered our training area while it had already been announced that drills would be held there…hence, they were ordered to leave,” he said.

Last month, the US Navy Central Command alleged that 11 IRGC vessels had “harassed” up to six US ships in the Persian Gulf. The claims were firmly rejected as “baseless” by Iranian officials.

The IRGC issued a statement describing the American allegations as “Hollywood tales”, detailing that the incident happened after an American vessel repeatedly harassed an Iranian boat.

Last week, IRGC chief Major General Hossein Salami said that Iranian forces would target “terrorist” US forces should they harass Iranian vessels. The remarks came after US President Donald Trump said that he had ordered US ships to “shoot down” Iranian speedboats (as if they flew) following the Persian Gulf incident.

The IRGC says Iranian naval forces have been directed to target American “terrorist” vessels or warships should they harass Iranian civil or military vessels off the Persian Gulf.

‘Iran to pursue US’

In his remarks, Tangsiri said that Iran views the Persian Gulf as its “home” and therefore never welcomes tensions in it. “However, we will not accept our fishing vessels to be inspected by the Americans and for American helicopters to fly over our offshore oil installations and to disrespect our rights,” he said.

Tangisiri cited a naval incident “a few years ago”, when an American warship targeted a vessel belonging to the United Arab Emirates and killed two Indian sailors aboard it. “The Americans are not complying with maritime laws; why should they be allowed to conduct military maneuvers whenever they want,” he said.

The IRGC Navy chief added that Washington’s provocations and allegations in the Persian Gulf are designed to “legitimize their illegitimate presence” in the strategic waterway. He said regional countries have become aware of Washington’s negative role in the region, adding that the expulsion of US forces from the region will start from Iraq.

A senior Iraqi military official said Baghdad is serious about the withdrawal of US-led forces, and relevant negotiations will start next June.

Tangsiri also said the IRGC will “pursue the Americans wherever they are” in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. “Our brothers in the Iranian Army’s Navy will also pursue them in the Sea of Oman,” he added.

Iranian vessels, usually belonging to the IRGC, commonly patrol the Persian Gulf to ensure the security of the vital waterway. Tensions in the strategic waters rose significantly last summer after a series of mysterious explosions targeted a number of oil tankers.

 Press TV

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