US warship advised to leave Iranian waters

  • 28/01/2016
Iranian submarines are tested in the Strait of Hormuz (Getty file)
Iranian submarines are tested in the Strait of Hormuz (Getty file)

Iran's navy warned a US warship to leave waters near the Strait of Hormuz where the Iranians are testing submarines, destroyers and missile launchers, local news agencies say.

The commander of Iran's fleet, Rear-Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, told Tasnim news agency the US ship was trying to collect information in the Sea of Oman -- an area close to the Strait, a vital oil and gas shipping route -- and said it left quickly after the alert.

There was no immediate reaction from Washington which this month joined other world powers in lifting sanctions on the Islamic Republic after Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program.

In the days before that deal, Iran briefly detained 10 US sailors after their boats entered its waters because of what they said was a navigational error.

"It was predictable that the US warship would approach the area to collect information on [our] military operations. So we warned them twice in the morning ... to keep their distance from the exercise area and keep clear of our missile range for their own safety," Sayyari was quoted as saying by Tasnim.

He said Iran had acted in line with the international convention that a country should clear out all other military and trade ships from an area before starting any exercise.

"The manoeuvre aims to show Iranian forces' strength both in ensuring security on the seas and in defending the country's sea borders in Hormuz Strait, Sea of Oman and north of the Indian Ocean," Sayyari was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Tasnim news agency reported that Iran had given warnings to other Western ships on Tuesday, and they had all left the area.