AFP, Thursday 20 Apr 2023
Iran said on Thursday it had “forced” a US submarine to surface as it was crossing the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf, a claim the Americans promptly denied.
A U.S. Navy L3 Harris Arabian Fox MAST-13 drone boat and the U.S. CoastGuard cutters USCGC John Scheuerman and USCGC Charles Moulthropetransit the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. AP
Admiral Shahram Irani, the commander of Iran’s navy, told state TV the USS Florida nuclear submarine was “approaching and passing in complete silence” when it partly entered Iranian waters.
An Iranian submarine then forced it to “surface and cross the strait”, he said, adding that Tehran would raise the matter with “international authorities”.
In a Twitter statement, the US Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said the claim was “absolutely false” and “represents more Iranian disinformation”.
The “US 5th Fleet continues to operate wherever international law allows”, it added.
Last June, the US Navy said three Iranian vessels had “interacted in an unsafe and unprofessional manner” as its ships transited the strait.
Washington-Tehran relations soured after Iran’s 1979 revolution toppled the US-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and brought about Islamic rule under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The two countries severed diplomatic relations after radical students demanding the shah’s extradition took 52 diplomats and employees of the American embassy in Tehran hostage and held them for 444 days.
Washington has repeatedly accused Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps force of disrupting maritime traffic in the strategic Gulf waters, a chokepoint through which a fifth of global oil output passes.
This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse (AFP).