American ship fires warning shots on Iranian boats

An American military ship fired warning shots after three Iranian Navy boats got too close to the vessel and another American patrol boat in the Persian Gulf, is stated in a statement by the U.S. Army. Such incidents have occurred occasionally in recent years, although in the past year it has been relatively quiet.

According to American officials, why the incident occurred remains unclear. But they point out that such incidents in the past were mostly initiated by local commanders rather than senior Iranian leaders.

Despite several warnings via megaphones and radio links, the US Army said that Iranian ships continued to perform maneuvers at short distances. The Iranian boats approached about 60 meters from the American ships. Only after firing a few warning shots, did they leave.

Vienna Negotiations

The incident comes at the time when negotiations are taking place in Vienna on the Iranian nuclear programme. In addition to Iran, the EU, Russia, China, Germany, France and the United Kingdom are at the table. The US, which left the 2015 International Atomic Agreement in 2018 and again imposed sanctions on Iran, is present in Vienna, but not directly involved in the talks that have been held since the beginning of this month. The aim of the talks is to ensure that both Iran and the US are recomplying with the agreement.

During the third round, it was decided on Tuesday to increase the pace, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran. Since the US denunciation, Iran has increased the production of enriched uranium to a higher level than permitted by the agreement. Moreover, the degree of enrichment is probably still insufficient for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.