More tension in the Persian Gulf as Iran gunboat takes aim at U.S. helicopter

by WorldTribune Staff, November 29, 2016

An Iranian gunboat pointed its loaded machine gun at a U.S. Navy helicopter flying over the Gulf of Hormuz on Nov. 25, U.S. defense officials said.

In the latest of a series of incidents between Iranian and American forces in and around the Persian Gulf, the officials told Fox News that two Iranian small boats were spotted approximately nine miles from the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier while it was transiting the strait. After spotting the Iranian gunboats, the aircraft carrier launched a helicopter, which had been on alert, according to the officials.

Iranian gunboat in the Persian Gulf. /AP
Iranian gunboat in the Persian Gulf. /AP

The helicopter flew close to the Iranian small boats, where one of the Iranian vessels pointed its weapon at the helicopter and the pilots reported seeing that the machine gun was loaded, they added.

A Navy official called the Iranian behavior “unsafe and unprofessional,” and an “escalating measure.”

In September, the Navy said Iran had threatened two American maritime patrol aircraft flying over the Strait of Hormuz.

That incident occurred a week after a U.S. Navy patrol ship was forced to change course after a fast attack craft from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) came within 91 meters of it in the central Persian Gulf.

In late August it was revealed that a U.S. Navy coastal patrol ship fired three warning shots at an Iranian ship that sailed within 200 yards in the Northern Persian Gulf.

In January, Washington said Iran launched rockets near an American aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. While Iran initially denied doing so, footage was later released that proved it had indeed fired on the American carrier.