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After US warning, Iran says its navy will still operate in Gulf

Reuters , Wednesday 20 May 2020
Konarak Support Vessel
FILE PHOTO: In this photo provided Monday, May 11, 2020, by the Iranian Army, the Konarak support vessel which was struck during a training exercise in the Gulf of Oman, is docked in an unidentified naval base in Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)
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The Iranian will maintain regular missions in the Gulf, the ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday, a day after the United States warned mariners there to stay away from U.S. warships.

"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," INSA quoted an unnamed military official as saying.

The U.S. warning to mariners followed U.S. President Donald Trump's threat last month to fire on any Iranian ships that harass U.S. Navy vessels.

The Bahrain-based U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement its notice was "designed to enhance safety, minimize ambiguity and reduce the risk of miscalculation".

It follows an incident last month in which 11 Iranian vessels came close to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf in what the U.S. military called "dangerous and provocative" behavior.

Friction between Tehran and Washington has increased since 2018, when Trump quit Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and reimposed sanctions on the country that have crippled its economy.

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