Iran warns US warship to leave waters

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The Iranian military warned a U.S. Navy ship Wednesday that it was too close to a naval drill in the Persian Gulf, semi-official Iranian news agencies reported.

The U.S. Navy characterized the incident as a routine Iranian announcement that it was conducting naval exercises.

The incident comes a little more than two weeks after the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) detained 10 U.S. sailors who had strayed into Iranian waters.

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Wednesday’s confrontation, which happened near the Strait of Hormuz, involved Iran’s regular navy, not the more hardline Revolutionary Guard.

The Tasnim and Fars news agencies, both semi-official, reported a U.S. warship turned around after receiving two warnings from Iranian naval vessels.

A jet was accompanying the U.S. ship and turned around as well, according to Tasnim.

“Some still seem to be holding no belief in Iran's naval power, hence they attempt to come close to get informed of our moves and capabilities," Iranian Navy Commander Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayari was quoted as saying in Fars.

In a statement to several news outlets, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Stephens said U.S. naval operations had not been altered and that it’s common to announce when ships are too close to live fire exercises.

“Our forces similarly announce closure areas for our training events,” he said. “We do not consider such announcements to be 'orders.’”

In addition to the sailors’ detention earlier this month, Iran also conducted a live-fire exercise in December within 1,500 yards of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz that U.S. officials characterized as "unnecessarily provocative."

Both incidents caused critics on Capitol Hill to charge that Iran has been emboldened by the recently implemented nuclear deal.