Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Saturday that U.S. Navy vessels approached their patrol boats in the Persian Gulf in what it described as a provocation, at a time when tensions between the two countries are high, following new U.S. sanctions that have been roundly condemned by Tehran.
It said the USS Nimitz and an accompanying ship approached an Iranian oil offshore platform and a helicopter from the ship hovered near vessels manned by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard troops.
While they were being monitored by the IRGC forces, the USA fleet also flew flares in a warning gesture, the statement said, adding that the IRGC navy group, heedless of the US navy's provocative move, continued its mission and the USA navy group left the area.
IRNA said that on Saturday the USA forces "committed the same act" when it sent choppers toward Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops near the Resalat oil and gas field.
IRGC Third Naval District describe the USA navy's action as "provocative move that was neutralized by IRGC forces".
The incident comes after a US Navy patrol boat fired warning shots on Tuesday near an Iranian vessel that American sailors said came dangerously close to them during a tense encounter.
The officials said the Iranian boat is believed to have been operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In remarks in June 2016, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that security of the Persian Gulf region comes within the purview of the regional countries alone, and dismissed the United States claim of seeking security in the region.
"The Iranian vessel's actions were not in accordance with the internationally recognized "rules of the road" nor internationally recognized maritime customs, creating a risk for collision", the Navy said.
On Saturday Iran's foreign ministry said the missile program is part of "domestic policy of the country, deterrent and at service of regional peace and security".