BEIRUT (Reuters) – A rocket-bearing Iranian military vessel confronted an American battleship in the Gulf and warned it to stay away from a damaged Iranian fishing boat, the Tasnim news agency reported Sunday.
The American battleship turned away after the warning from the Iranian vessel, which belonged to the naval branch of the Iranian army, according to Tasnim.
The Iranian military vessel then towed the fishing boat, which had sent out a distress signal after taking on water, back to shore.
The site did not specify when the incident, which happened close to the strategic Straight of Hormuz, took place.
Tensions have been on the rise between the Iranian and U.S. military in the Gulf in recent months.
In early August, an unarmed Iranian drone came within 100 feet (31 meters) of a U.S. Navy warplane as it prepared to land on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, a U.S. official said at the time.
And in late July, a U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots when an Iranian vessel in the Gulf came within 150 yards (137 meters) in the first such incident since President Donald Trump took office in January, U.S. officials said.
Years of mutual animosity had eased when Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran last year as part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But serious differences remain over Iran’s ballistic missile program and conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, recently declared that Iran was complying with its nuclear agreement with world powers, but warned that Tehran was not following the spirit of the accord and that Washington would look for ways to strengthen it.
During the presidential campaign last September, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harass the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water.”
Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle