A US warship had to change direction after receiving warnings from Iran to stay away from their military drill zone near the Strait of Hormuz, local media reported on Wednesday.
The Iranian navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, was quoted as saying that the U.S. warship received two warnings before leaving the region.
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“They were warned once by maritime patrol aircraft and once again by the Alborz destroyer,” he said. “The U.S. warship left the region immediately after receiving the warning,” he added, saying he believed that the Americans had approached the area to “learn our tactics.”
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Fars News Agency reports: Iran is running major naval wargames in its waters in the Persian Gulf. The high-profile Velayat exercises by the Iranian Navy is an annual event and all shipping lines and Naval vessels in the region are informed of the area of the drills according to international maritime and naval standards that require all foreign ships and vessels to keep some 5 nautical miles away from the wargames zone.
The USS MONTEREY (CG 61), a TICONDEROGA class cruiser, was sailing near the Strait of Hormuz where the Iranian forces were staging the main phase of the Velayat 94 massive wargames along the country’s Southeastern Makran seashores on the rims of the Persian Gulf on Wednesday.
According to the Iranian Army, the US warship left the region immediately after receiving the warning.
Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari said the warship seemed to be planning to spy on Iranian vessels and weapons.
“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,” the Admiral said on Wednesday.
The incident was the second naval showdown between the United States and Iran in Persian Gulf waters in just two weeks.
A spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, offered a different version of events. According to ABC news:
Cmdr. Kevin Stephens said the U.S. is aware of the Iranian exercise and that it has not altered U.S. naval operations in any way. Iran had announced plans to close off certain areas for the drill, but he said this is “common practice for any navy conducting such training at sea,” he said.
“Our forces similarly announce closure areas for our training events. We do not consider such announcements to be ‘orders,'” Stephens said.
A report by Tasnim news agency added that a similar situation involving “Western coalition” vessels took place Tuesday. It said the Iranian navy issued a warning and the vessels left the area.