The incident between the five US Navy ships and the five Iranian speedboats happened in the Strait of Hormuz. The Straight of Hormuz is a major oil shipping route. US officials said that they were preparing to fire upon the Iranian speedboats. But, the speedboats withdrew from the scene. The Pentagon insists that they were in international waters.
A warning was issued from the White House that actions used to provoke could lead to a very dangerous incident in the future. However, Iran had downplayed the event saying that this was an occurrence that was nothing out of the ordinary.
“This… happens for the two sides every once in a while and, after the identification of the two sides, the issue is resolved,” said Mohammad Al Hosseini, the foreign ministry spokesman of Iran.
Also, the official media reports that the White House was exaggerating the incident.
Pentagon officials have said that the speedboats are believed to have belonged to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and came within about 200 meters of the US vessels.
“I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes,” said the Iranians over the radio transmission according to US officials.
Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon spokesman for the matter said that the speedboats were going at distances and speeds that were deemed reckless. He said some of them boats were visibly armed.
This is the latest Middle East confrontation to come as US President George W. Bush is to start a Middle East tour on Wednesday. The tensions between both the United States and Iran are still standing over Iran’s nuclear program.