An Iranian admiral now says the country’s slow-down in sending small patrol boats to harass U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf was spurred by what he describes as a change in U.S. behavior but doesn’t address the uptick in Iran’s drone flights in the region.
Rear Admiral Ali Ozmaei of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said the U.S. Navy is now following international regulations and is avoiding approaching the Iranian coast, according to news reports.
Ozmaei’s comments came a week after U.S. Navy officials stated harassment from small Iranian patrol boats seems to have stopped in the congested Persian Gulf region, according to a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. Navy officials, though, told USNI News there has been no change to naval operations in the region. Currently, the Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group is operating in the region, as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. Led by USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), the strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 17, guided-missile destroyers USS Sampson (DDG-102), USS Preble (DDG-88), USS Halsey (DDG-97), and guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52).
Meanwhile, as the number of incidents involving small Iranian patrol boats approaching U.S. Navy ships has diminished, Iran appears determined to increase the number of unmanned drone aircraft sent to surveil U.S. Navy ships.
In recent months, Iranian QOM-1 Drones, also known as Shaheed 129, have been sent one or two times a day to fly over the Strait of Hormuz and the Southern Arabian Gulf, a U.S. official recently told USNI News. These drones often approach U.S. Navy ships operating in the region.
A week ago, Iranian navy officials claimed a drone chased away U.S. warships operating near an Iranian naval exercise. U.S. Navy officials quickly pushed-back against that claim, telling USNI News U.S. operations in the region were not affected by Iranian actions.
In August, on two different occasions, Iranian drones approached USS Nimitz (CVN-68) while the carrier conducted air operations in international waters.
Source: USNI News