Pentagon releases video of incident involving Iranian ships in Persian Gulf

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The cruiser USS Port Royal was one of the US ships involved in the incident.

The Pentagon in the United States has released a video tape of an incident where Iranian high-speed boats attempted to surround at least three U.S. warships passing through international waters in the Persian Gulf.

On Monday January 7, a fleet of the Iranian boats charged and then threatened to blow up the U.S. ships. In the video, which was shot from the USS Hopper, and runs for some four minutes, shows the speedboats racing at the US ships. In the audio, a warning said to come from the Iranians can be heard: "I am coming at you; you will explode." Near the end of the footage, the Americans issue their own warning to change course or become "subject to defensive measures."

Tuesday, U.S. President George W. Bush called the actions of the Iranians a "provocative act":

"My message today to the Iranians is they shouldn't have done what they did. It is a dangerous situation. They should not have done it, pure and simple. . . . I don't know what their thinking was, but I'm telling you what my thinking was. I think it was a provocative act," said Bush during a press conference in the White House's Rose Garden today.

The boats disappeared a short time later, just as the U.S. ships were preparing to open fire on the vessels.

Iran claims that their troops may not have recognized the ships as being from the U.S. and says that the incident is "normal" for both nations.

"That is something normal that takes place every now and then for each party," said Mohammed Ali Hosseini, a spokesman for the Foreign ministry in Tehran.

Further, Iran claims that the footage released by the Pentagon is just a part of a propaganda campaign. "The footage released by the US Navy are file pictures and the audio has been fabricated," Revolutionary Guard sources said on Iranian TV.