The actions of a number of Iranian speedboats which, several days ago, confronted US Naval ships off the coast of Iran, have been referred to as dangerous and provocative by the US Secretary of State.
While Iranian sources have described the occurrence as âordinaryâ, speaking to the BBC, Condoleezza Rice said the incident could not be viewed as ânormalâ.
US: Iranian Speedboats Threatened to Explode USN Vessels
According to the US, three vessels serving with the US Navy were challenged by the five speedboats, which threatened to destroy them. The site of the incident was located in the Strait of Hormuz, with the speedboats subsequently retreating as the US vessels got ready to attack them.
"It was provocative, and that kind of provocation is dangerousâ, Ms Rice stated.
"I would sincerely hope that the Iranians would refrain from any such activity."
She added an affirmation that the US Naval presence in this part of the world would remain in place.
"The United States under this president has sent a very strong signal that America has strong interests in the Gulf, that the United States will continue to defend its interests in the Gulf, and this goes back for decades."
Referring to the incident, a spokesman from Iraqâs foreign ministry said: "This... happens for the two sides every once in a while and, after the identification of the two sides, the issue is resolved."
Pentagon: Separation Between Speedboats and USN Ships Down to 200m
Officials at the Pentagon said that the closest distance between the three US Navy ships and the speedboats was around 200 metres. The Iranian vessels - which are thought to have been in the service of the Revolutionary Guards organisation â announced via radio: "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes", US officials said.
The entire episode is understood to have lasted around 20 minutes, and took place at approximately 4 AM on the morning of January 6th.
Pentagon: US Navy Not Outside International Waters
The Pentagon is adamant that the USS Hopper, USS Port Royal and USS Ingraham â the trio of US Naval vessels involved - were not sailing outside international waters.
Source â Armed Forces Internationalâs US Correspondent