Following the warning shots the Iranian ship ceased its provocative actions, but did still linger in the area for some hours, one of the officials toldCNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.
The incident occurred at about 3:00 am local time (0000 GMT) in the northern Persian Gulf. The U.S. patrol ship then ultimately opened fire with five short bursts of its.50-caliber heavy machine gun to drive away the incoming vessel.
Iran and the United States frequently have tense naval encounters in the Persian Gulf, almost all involving the Revolutionary Guard, a separate force from Iran's military that answers only to the country's supreme leader. The U.S. Navy also alleged that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps acted provocatively in April while it approached the USS Mahan, an American destroyer, in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian ship did not respond to radio calls, flares and horn blasts as it came within 150 yards (137 meters) of the Thunderbolt, forcing the USA sailors aboard to fire the warning shots, McConnaughey said. The Iranian ships had approached the US ship at high speeds and didn't respond to requests to stop.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a paramilitary force that answers directly to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
I don't know why the Iranians keep provoking us.
This article has been updated to include new information provided by the U.S. Navy.
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