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This image from July 25, 2017 shows an Iranian vessel making a close approach to a U.S. coastal patrol ship USS Thunderbolt, right. The U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots near the Iranian vessel that American sailors said came dangerously close to them during a tense encounter in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy/AP

U.S. Navy Says Warning Shot Fired Near Iranian Vessels 'Safe and Professional'

Jul 29, 2017

(TEHRAN, Iran) — The U.S. Navy has responded to a report by Iran's official news agency that a U.S. aircraft carrier fired a warning shot during an "unprofessional" confrontation with Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf on Friday.

The Navy describes the encounter "as safe and professional."

The Bahrain-based 5th Fleet says one of its helicopters was on a routine patrol in international airspace when it saw several Iranian vessels approaching American ships "at a high rate of speed." The Navy says the helicopter tried to establish communications but received no response, so it sent out flares, prompting the Iranian boats to halt their approach.

Navy spokesman Lt. Ian M. McConnaughey says that after communications were established, the U.S. saw the Iranians conduct a "gun exercise" that involved weapons being fired into the water away from American ships.

The incident comes after a U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots Tuesday near an Iranian vessel that American sailors said came dangerously close to them.

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