U.S. navy fires warning shots as Iranian vessel speeds towards them

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The USS Thunderbolt, a Navy patrol craft, was conducting a coalition exercise in the global waters when the Iranian vessel approached, according to the Navy.

A US Navy patrol boat has fired warning shots towards an Iranian naval ship after it came within 150 yards during a tense encounter in the Persian Gulf, it has emerged.

It wasn't until the warning shots were fired that the Iranian craft halted its approach, the Navy said.

But in a statement issued via the IRGC's news site Sepah, it was the American "battleship" which moved towards one of Iran's patrol boats.

The encounter involving the USS Thunderbolt, a Cyclone-class patrol ship based in Bahrain as part of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, is the latest confrontation between Iranian vessels and American warships.

The USS Thunderbolt is a Cyclone class patrol ship now assigned to the U.S. Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain, and has a crew of four officers and 24 sailors.

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The Iranian vessel sped towards the United States patrol boat named Thunderbolt, ignoring radio calls, flares and the ship's whistle, according to an unnamed USA official.

Confrontations between USA and Iranian forces have grown particularly tense during the Trump administration.

Officials characterized the actions of the Iranian boat as "unsafe and unprofessional", and not in accordance with global norms for interaction at sea.

Hostility between the USA and Iran date back to the 1979 Islamic revolution, which overthrew the U.S. -backed monarchy in Tehran. Saudi Arabia and Iran have also been involved in naval incidents, such as one last month when Iranian fishermen were accused by Saudi Arabia of being operatives for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The U.S. Navy condemned the actions taken by Iranian forces, calling them "outrageous and unacceptable", and has since taken significant steps to prevent future incidents.

This article has been updated to include new information provided by the U.S. Navy.

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