Five boats, who believed to belong to the Iranian revolutionary guards, approached a British oil tanker in the Gulf on Wednesday and asked to stop in Iranian waters, but withdrew after a British warship told to return, according to two. US officials.
"The Royal Navy HMS Montrose, who was also there, pointed his pistols to the boats and warned them of the radio where they spread," one of the officials told the news agency Reuters. 19659002] "It was harassment and an attempt to disrupt the passage," said the other official.
The US officials spoke on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday's incident happened when British Heritage was at the northern entrance to the Hormuz Strait ̵
The US military confirmed the incident in a statement, but declined to share further information on the incident coming a week after an Iranian oil thought that believed to be on its way to Syria was seized by the British Royal Marines off Gibraltar.
Tensions in the region
Iran denied the tanker led to Syria, a closely associated with Tehran, while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Britain would face "consequences" over the tanker.
"We are aware of the reports of Islamic revolutionary guard Corp Navy's FAC / FIAC harassment and are trying to disrupt the passage of the British flagship's British heritage today near the Hormuz Sound," said the US military's central command in a statement.
"We refer you to the UK Defense Ministry for further information on this," it said.
Britain's Ministry of Defense had no immediate comment.
Tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies have risen sharply since Washington withdrew from the nuclear agreement in 2015.
Since then, the Trump administration has increased economic sanctions against Iran and moved to bring the country's oil exports to zero as a part of a "maximum pressure" policy to stop Iran from taking action as it said, undermining regional security.
Iran has responded to the sanctions by beginning to break borders imposing its nuclear activities under the nuclear agreement with world powers.
& # 39; Economic Terrorism & # 39;
US President Donald Trump, who has said he will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, said Wednesday that "Iran has long been secretly enriching uranium". 19659010] Tehran says recent measures were within the scope of the agreement and called the US sanctions "economic terrorism".
Several oil tankers were attacked in waters near Iran's south coast in May and June, for which the US owed Iran. Tehran refused any interference.
Iran's pressure of sanctions has given threats to disrupt the oil flow through the strategic strait. Last year, a revolutionary guards commander had threatened to block all exports through the strait if their exports were stopped.
Last month, Iran knocked down an American drone near the Strait of Hormuz, whereby Trump received a return air strike order to call only
On Tuesday, the United States said it was working to form a military coalition to protect strategic waters off Iran and Yemen.
Al Jazeera and news agencies