This is the third meeting between the US and Iranian ships in the past month and the second time the US has had to fire warning shots due to what it has called dangerous behavior on the part Iranian ships in the region, after a relative lull in such interactions. last year.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the warning shots were fired after Iranian speedboats approached 137 meters (450 feet) of six US military ships, including the USS Monterey, which were escorting the Georgia guided missile submarine.
U.S. Coast Guard Maui fired the warning shots from a 0.50 caliber machine gun before the Iranian ships left, Kirby said.
Kirby said the first shot was fired when Iranian boats came within 300 meters (274 meters) of American ships, and the second from within 150 meters (137 meters).
“It’s important… and they acted very aggressively,” he said, adding that the number of Iranian ships was higher than in the recent past.
The latest incident comes as world powers and Iran seek to accelerate efforts to bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
U.S. officials returned to Vienna last week for the fourth round of indirect talks with Iran on how to resume compliance with the deal, which former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, which has pushed Iran to start violating its terms about a year later.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters on May 6 that there was hope for the deal if Iran made a political decision.
“Is it possible that we will see a mutual return to compliance in the coming weeks, or an understanding of mutual compliance?” It’s possible, yes, ”the official said in a telephone briefing.
The Trump administration also sanctioned Iran after leaving the agreement.
Iran has long argued that no further action should be taken on its part until the United States – the first party to withdraw from the deal – returns to compliance.
Tehran also wants sanctions to be lifted.