Iran's Guards blame U.S. ship for warning shots incident in Gulf

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FILE PHOTO: The USS Monterey military vessel is seen docked in the Black Sea harbour of Constanta

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday accused a U.S. Coast Guard ship of "provocation" after it fired warning shots against Iranian military boats that approached it in the Gulf.

The Pentagon said on Monday the U.S. Coast Guard ship Maui fired about 30 warning shots after 13 fast boats from the Revolutionary Guards' navy came close to it and other American Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.

A Revolutionary Guards statement accused U.S. naval ships of "unprofessional behaviour such as flying helicopters, firing flares and aimless and provocative shooting".

"It would be better for the Americans to avoid unprofessional behaviour and not to endanger the security of the Persian Gulf by obeying the rules and regulations of the sea," said the statement carried by Iranian media.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Monday the Iranian vessels had been acting "very aggressively".

It was the second time within the last month that U.S. military vessels have fired warning shots because of what they said was unsafe behavior by Iranian vessels in the region, after a relative lull in such interactions over the past year.

The latest incident comes as world powers and Iran seek to speed up efforts to bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord.

U.S. officials returned to Vienna last week for a fourth round of indirect talks with Iran on how to resume compliance with the deal, which former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, prompting Iran to begin violating its terms about a year later.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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