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Iran says its ships will stay in Gulf despite US warning

The Iranian navy has rebuffed U.S. warnings from a day prior to stay away from U.S. warships, maintaining that it will continue its regular missions in the Gulf, an Iranian state-run news outlet reported Wednesday.

“The naval units of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman will continue their regular missions in accordance with professional principles as in the past,” according to an Iranian military official as reported by ISNA new agency.

Reuters first reported that the U.S. military on Tuesday warned armed mariners in the Gulf to stay 100 meters away from its naval vessels in international waters and straits or risk being “interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures.”

That follows President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump outside groups raise .8 million in April Biden wins Oregon primary Graham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before election MORE’s threat in April, in which he said he has instructed the Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian vessels that harass American ships at sea.

The tweeted warning came after a tense encounter in the Gulf when 11 Iranian ships repeatedly approached Navy and Coast Guard ships in what the U.S. military called “dangerous and harassing” moves.

The U.S. military’s Tuesday’s warning to Iran – which is likely to exacerbate tensions with the nation – was made “in order to enhance safety, minimize ambiguity, and reduce opportunities for miscalculation,” according to the statement.

The already strained relationship between Tehran and Washington became significantly worse after Trump left the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on the country.

The tensions more recently nearly reached a boiling point after the U.S. conducted a drone strike in early January that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the IRGC’s Quds Force. 

Days later, Iran launched a retaliatory missile strike on Iraqi bases housing U.S military personnel.

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