Navy accuses Iranian ships of harassing US destroyer | News | DW | 25.08.2016
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Navy accuses Iranian ships of harassing US destroyer

The US Navy has said Iranian boats intercepted a US warship in an "unsafe" manner. Tensions have flared between the two countries despite a historic nuclear deal achieved last year.

The incident occurred as the destroyer USS Nitze was traveling in the Strait of Hormuz, a US defense official said on Wednesday.

Four Iranian small boats intercepted the American ship in an "unsafe" manner, according to AFP news agency. Admiral John Richardson told the press that the boats approached the Nitze at high speed, eventually coming to within 300 yards of the destroyer.

The US warship shot flares, sounded whistles and attempted to communicate with the Iranian boats, but to no avail.

US Kriegsschiff USS Nitze

The destroyer USS Nitze

Rising tensions

The Nitze was accompanied by another destroyer, the USS Mason. Richardson didn't clarify why the US ships were sailing in the Strait of Hormuz.

He said the incident raised concerns about what Washington was willing to let slide when it came to Iran's behavior. "We have to be mindful that we don't become complacent as things get steadily busier, steadily more engaging and that we're thoughtful about how we approach those challenges," Richardson said.

Despite a historic nuclear deal reached between the US, Iran and other countries, tensions have steadily mounted between Washington and Tehran. In January, Iran detained 10 US Navy sailors after stopping their ship, which had strayed into Iran's waters. A Navy investigation found the sailors didn't use proper navigation or communication techniques.

blc/kl (AFP, AP)

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