Iran says its ships will stay in Gulf despite US warning

Iran says its ships will stay in Gulf despite US warning
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The Iranian navy has rebuffed U.S. warnings from a day prior to stay away from U.S. warships, maintaining that it will continue its regular missions in the Gulf, an Iranian state-run news outlet reported Wednesday.

“The naval units of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman will continue their regular missions in accordance with professional principles as in the past,” according to an Iranian military official quoted by the Iranian Students' News Agency.

Reuters first reported that the U.S. military on Tuesday warned armed mariners in the Gulf to stay 100 meters away from its naval vessels in international waters and straits or risk being “interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures.”

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That followed President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE’s April threat in which he said he had instructed the Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian vessels that harass American ships at sea.

The tweeted warning came after a tense encounter in the Gulf in which 11 Iranian ships repeatedly approached Navy and Coast Guard ships in what the U.S. military called “dangerous and harassing” moves.

The U.S. military’s Tuesday warning to Iran — which is likely to exacerbate tensions with the nation — was made “in order to enhance safety, minimize ambiguity, and reduce opportunities for miscalculation,” according to the statement.

The already strained relationship between Tehran and Washington became significantly worse after Trump left the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on the country.

The tensions more recently nearly reached a boiling point after the U.S. conducted a drone strike in early January that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force.

Days later, Iran launched a retaliatory missile strike on Iraqi bases housing U.S military personnel.