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Iran to confront any intruding vessel in Persian Gulf: Defense minister

Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan says Iran will confront any vessel intruding in its territorial waters after Pentagon officials claim Iranian speedboats “harassed” US warships in the Strait of Hormuz.

American officials said Wednesday Iranian boats sped close to two US Navy destroyers with their weapons uncovered in the Strait of Hormuz in an “unsafe and unprofessional” encounter.

“We will warn any foreign vessel which enters our waters and confront any aggression,” Dehqan told reporters in the central city of Isfahan on Thursday when asked about the incident.

US Central Command spokesman Commander Kyle Raines said in a statement that Iranian vessels came within 300 yards (meters) of the American destroyer the USS Nitze which was accompanied by the USS Mason, another destroyer.

The destroyer “changed its course multiple times in close proximity to offshore oil rigs in an attempt to maintain separation,” Raines said, which confirmed the vessels were in the Iranian waters.

Dehqan said Iran’s naval units monitor all movements in the Persian Gulf.

“Guaranteeing the country’s security at sea and in the Persian Gulf has been delegated to our naval units which monitor developments all the time in order to supervise traffic and foreign vessels,” the minister said.

“Naturally, all this happens in our territorial waters,” he added.

In January, the Iranian navy arrested the crews of two US patrol boats that had trespassed into Iranian territorial waters. Iran released them after deciding they had entered its waters by mistake.

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