Earlier on Monday, July 11, Reuters quoted an American commander as saying that the IRGC had dispatched five military vessels to monitor a US warship hosting one of America’s top generals on a day trip through the Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf, coming as close as 500 yards.
In response, General Tangsiri said on Tuesday, July 12, that “monitoring foreign vessels in regions where the IRGC Navy conducts its missions is not a new thing and it is always done on a routine basis and round the clock.”
He underlined that the IRGC Navy is tasked with monitoring the traffic of every foreign vessel precisely and sensitively, “especially those of the enemies of the Islamic Revolution and the Great Satan, the US”, whose presence is a threat to Iran.
Tangsiri underlined that the monitoring mission has been carried out for years and the western media’s fuss over the issue is the result of their incorrect understanding, as reported by Fars.
According to the Reuters’ report, the five Iranian vessels consisted of four speedboats, three with mounted machine guns, as well as a guided missile patrol ship.
One of the four speedboats that reportedly approached the New Orleans and its escort, a US Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Stout, cut its engines and watched as the US warships passed.
An hour earlier, a larger Iranian guided-missile patrol craft came by.
US officials stressed that such approaches fell within the category of professional interactions, the kind they see during 90 per cent of the US Navy’s roughly 250 transits through the Strait of Hormuz each year.
Reuters quoted Army General Joseph Votel, head of the US military’s Central Command, as saying, “As you’ve seen in a relatively compressed space here, there is great opportunity for miscalculations.”
“We don’t always have a lot of time to deal with those interactions. I think what we’ve probably learned here today is that it’s measured in minutes,” Votel said.
Back in January, the IRGC Navy captured 10 US Navy sailors near Farsi island inside Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, but released them a day later following an apology and after technical and operational investigations indicated that the intrusion was unintentional.