According to the Pentagon officials, the incident took place twice last week, though the interactions were not seen as hostile.
The video released by the Pentagon shows armed boats belonging to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps navy approaching within several hundred yards (meters) of the USS New Orleans, an amphibious transport ship, on January 6, 2012.
According to US military sources, a similar incident occurred with the US Coast Guard cutter Adak the same day, with the Iranian boats seen riding in its wake with guns visible.
“This interaction between US naval vessels and the Iranian vessels is commonplace,” said Captain Jane Campbell, a Pentagon spokeswoman. “There is nothing in these that shows any kind of hostile intent,” she added.
US officials say it is routine to take video of such incidents and the US military decided to release imagery at the request of news organizations.
After the US and the European Union proposed sanctions against Iran’s oil sector, which aim to deprive the country of its oil exports, high-ranking civil and military officials in Tehran threatened the West with the possible closure of the Strait of Hormuz. They say if Iran cannot export its oil, no other country will be able to do so either.
Iran’s Navy also staged 10-day massive navy drills dubbed Velayat 90 last month in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz as a clear warning to the West to avoid of any measure which may threaten the safety of the Iranian waterway.
Commander of Iran’s Army Major General Ataollah Salehi warned the US John C. Stennis, which left the Persian Gulf on December 30, 2011, en route to the Sea of Oman, not to return to the Persian Gulf, adding that the warning comes “only once.”