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US Navy fires warning flare at Iran vessel in Persian Gulf

Destroyer forced to alter course by Iranian vessel

Of the incidents past year, the most severe involved Iranian forces capturing 10 USA sailors who had mistakenly steered their boats into Iranian waters and holding them overnight. Iran views the American presence as a provocation and its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard shadows U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf, occasionally firing missiles or rockets nearby.

Two U.S. officials tell Fox News that the Iranian ship came within 1,000 yards of the guided missile destroyer USS Mahan with its weapons manned.

Iranian authorities did not immediately report the incident.

Commander Bill Urban said the vessels ignored warnings and "continued to directly approach Mahan at a high rate of speed", prompting "three warning shots with a crew-served.50-caliber machine gun".

A US official told CNN that an Iranian vessel came close to a USA destroyer as the two sailed the Persian Gulf.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy has reportedly increased its "unprofessional" encounters in both the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz since the controversial nuclear deal inked during Barack Obama's administration.

In January, the Mahan fired warning shots at Iranian vessels that encroached upon the American ship's path - coming within 900 yards of the destroyer.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said there had been 35 incidents of unsafe or unprofessional behavior by Iranian vessels in 2016, although the "vast majority" had occurred in the first half.

This latest incident is among a growing list of Iranian provocations against United States forces, mostly maritime, in the region.