Iranian vessels reportedly blocked Royal Navy and U.S. ships in 'unsafe' move

Multiple fast-attack vessels from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps came close to a US Navy ship in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, forcing it to change direction, a US official told Reuters on Monday.

Last Thursday, an Iranian naval frigate came within a hundred and fifty yards of the American ship in the Gulf of Oman, just south of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

British and USA warships patrol the regional waters, and three ships from the Royal British Navy were reportedly accompanying the Invincible.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Iranian boats on March 4 came within 600 meters of the U.S. Navy ship, the Invincible, and then stopped.

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The incident was "unsafe and unprofessional", the official told Reuters.

The Invincible is one of two missile range instrumentation vessels operated by Military Sealift Command in support of the U.S. Air Force (not Navy).

The IRGC did not comment on the latest episode, but Iran mantains that under global law it has the right to protect security in the Strait.

According to the Associated Press, no warning shots or flares were fired in the incident. The Saturday incident was also more worrying as it involved the elite Revolutionary Guard unit.

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The apparent "harassment" of the USS Invincible on two occasions, came amid Iranian state media reports that Tehran had tested its newly acquired S-300 missile air defence system that is created to intercept incoming missiles, The Washington Post reported.

"This was assessed to be a combination of unsafe or unprofessional behaviour", Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.

"It's concerning because it can result in a miscalculation or an accidental provocation that we don't want", Mr Davis said, noting that Iranian actions in the crowded sea had actually been improving of late.

Sky News recalls that President Donald Trump "vowed that Iranian ships which intimidate the U.S. Navy would be "shot out of the water" during his presidential campaign. U.S. Gulf allies have long favored a tougher U.S. stance against Iran, whom they blame for regional interference.

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A large portion of the world's oil passes through the strait on tankers, making it a strategically important route.