Six US military warships conducting exercises in international waters off Iran on Wednesday were interrupted by what the US calls a "harassing" group of nearly a dozen Iranian vessels. A statement from the US Navy's 5th Fleet says that 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels came very close to the US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Persian Gulf and zipped around at high speeds, coming within 10 yards of the UCG cutter Maui's bow, per Fox News. The US ships blew their horns, issued radio warnings, and used long-range acoustic noisemakers in response. Iran's vessels retreated after about an hour, the statement notes.
"The IRGCN's dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision," reads a US military statement, which adds the maneuvers also violated internationally recognized nautical navigation rules. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Wednesday Fox News interview that the US is trying to figure out how to voice its "displeasure" regarding the incident, per CNBC. Reuters notes interactions like this between the US and Iran were more common in 2016 and 2017, though they haven't happened of late. (Tensions between the two countries have been high since a US drone strike killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani earlier this year.)