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Iran accuses USA navy of firing warning shots at its vessels

Iran accuses USA navy of firing warning shots at its vessels

A US Navy aircraft carrier fired warning flares at Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said, marking the latest aggressive encounter between the two nations.

The U.S. Navy said Saturday that a naval helicopter noticed a group of Islamic Revolutionary Guard ships heading toward the USS Nimitz's strike group "at a high rate of speed". The Iranian vessels ignored the flares, and the US ships later left the area, CNN reported.

The confrontation occurred just three days after a similar face-off involving the USS Thunderbolt.

The move at 4pm on Friday comes after a US Navy patrol ship fired warning shots at a Guards boat in the Gulf as it closed in on the American vessel on Tuesday, US officials said.

There have been a string of close encounters between U.S. ships and Iranian vessels in the Gulf in recent months.

Jafari's comments come a day after the U.S. departments of State and Treasury imposed sanctions against 18 entities and individuals tied to the Iranian military, IRGC and the country's ballistic missile program.

Iran and the USA frequently have run-ins in the Persian Gulf, almost all involving the Revolutionary Guard, a separate force from Iran's military that answers only to the country's supreme leader.

"It is a breach of the deal in articles 26, 28 and 29", said Araghchi.

The elite force are a semi-independent branch of Iran's military that answers only to the country's supreme leader the Ayatollah.

In a joint statement, they said that Iran's launch was "inconsistent" with a UN Security Council resolution that enshrined the nuclear deal.

Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations since 1979 when Iranian militant students stormed the United States embassy and took 52 American hostages for 444 days.

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