This post has been updated with an additional statement from the U.S. 5th Fleet.
An Iranian admiral now says the country’s slowdown in sending small patrol boats to harass US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf was spurred on by what he describes as a change in US behavior, but ignores the rise in Iranian drone flights in the region. .
Rear Admiral Ali Ozmaei of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said the US Navy now respects international regulations and avoids approaching Iranian coasts, according to the news.
Ozmaei’s comments came a week after U.S. Navy officials said harassment of small Iranian patrol boats appeared to have stopped in the congested Persian Gulf region, according to a story first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
U.S. Navy officials, however, told USNI News that there has been no change in naval operations in the region.
“We are not going to speculate on the reason for this recent positive trend in interactions, although we hope it will continue in the future. The US Navy has not adjusted its operations and will continue to operate where the international law allows it, âsaid Cmdr. Bill Urban, spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet.
âEven with the decrease in incidents, we remain concerned about the increase in the number of Iranian UAVs operating in international airspace at night without navigation lights or an active transponder, as would be expected by international standards. We continue to advocate for all maritime forces to comply with the
maritime customs, standards and laws.
Currently, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is operating in the region, as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. Led by USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) Strike Group, includes Carrier Air Wing 17, guided-missile destroyers USS Sampson (DDG-102), USS Preble (DDG-88), USS Halsey (DDG-97) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker hill (CG-52).
Meanwhile, as the number of incidents involving small Iranian patrol boats approaching US Navy ships has declined, Iran appears determined to increase the number of unmanned drones sent to monitor US Navy ships.
In recent months, Iranian QOM-1 drones, also known as Shaheed 129, have been dispatched once or twice a day to fly over the Strait of Hormuz and the southern Persian Gulf, a US official recently told USNI News. These drones often approach US Navy ships operating in the area.
A week ago, Iranian navy officials claimed that a drone had driven out US warships operating near an Iranian naval exercise. U.S. Navy officials quickly rebuffed the claim, telling USNI News that U.S. operations in the region were unaffected by Iranian actions.
Iranian drones approached the USS on two occasions in August Nimitz (CVN-68) while the carrier was conducting air operations in international waters.
The following is the full statement from January 31, 2018 to USNI News from Cmdr. Bill Urban, spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet.
Over a 20-month period, from January 2016 to August 2017, it
averaged 2.5 dangerous and / or unprofessional interactions per month
between the US Navy and Iranian Maritime Forces. The last dangerous and
an unprofessional interaction occurred on August 14, 2017, when an Iranian
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) without powered navigation lights flew
in the vicinity of aircraft conducting night landing operations on the USS
Nimitz (CVN-68). In total there were 14 dangerous and unprofessional
interactions in 2017 and 36 in 2016.
We are not going to speculate on the reason for this recent positive toll
trend in interactions, although we hope it will continue in the future. The
The United States Navy has not adjusted its operations and will continue to
operate where international law permits. Even with the decrease
incidents, we remain concerned about the increase in the number of Iranian drones
operating in international airspace at night without navigation lights or
active transponder as you would expect by international standards. We
continue to advocate for all maritime forces to comply with
maritime customs, standards and laws.
As we consider the decrease in incidents in the second half of 2017
positive development, the United States Navy remains vigilant as we
continue to operate.