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Iranian navy forces U.S. submarine to surface in Gulf

20 April: Iran has accused a U.S. submarine of violating its territorial waters and entering the Gulf while submerged, in a rare incident that could escalate tensions between the two countries.

The Iranian navy commander, Shahram Irani, told state television on Thursday that the Iranian submarine Fateh detected the U.S. vessel and forced it to surface as it went through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow entrance to the Gulf.

Irani said the U.S. submarine had also entered into Iran’s territorial waters but corrected its course after being warned. He said Iran would report the incident to international bodies.

“This submarine was doing its best, using all its capacities, to pass in total silence and without being detected,” Irani said. “We will certainly reflect to international bodies the fact that it had violated our border.”

The U.S. Navy said earlier this month that the nuclear-powered, guided-missile submarine Florida was operating in the Middle East in support of its Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military to Irani’s remarks. Reuters sent a message seeking comment from the Fifth Fleet.

Iran and the U.S. have had several confrontations in the Gulf in recent years. In 2019, Iran shot down a U.S. drone which it said was flying over southern Iran. In April this year, Iran said it identified and warned off a U.S. reconnaissance plane outside the mouth of the Gulf.

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