Iranian military planes warned off a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft near the Islamic Republic’s war games in the Persian Gulf that conclude Wednesday (today), according to the semi-official Fars news agency. American officials have not commented.
The report comes less than two weeks after it was revealed that Iranian planes photographed an American ship last month in what American officials said was a “close encounter.” The Iranian plane had dipped within 3,000 feet of the ship, the USS Eisenhower.
The latest incident occurred in the middle of an eight-day Iranian exercise in the Gulf, also known as the Straits of Hormuz and which is the waterway for 40 percent of the world’s oil and gas supplies.
Iran’s armed forces commander Ayatollah Salehi told Fars, "A U.S. reconnaissance aircraft which had intended to approach our operational war games left ... upon the timely warning of our air defense forces.”
Similar incidents have occurred in the past, and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute researcher Pieter Wezeman told UPI, "To me it sounds like standard behavior from both sides. I recall a number of them over the years."