- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2022

U.S. Navy ships employed “non-lethal lasers” to ward off an Iranian vessel that passed within 150 yards of the American craft in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday night, military officials said. 

U.S. Central Command said that an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessel came dangerously close to the American ships USS Lewis B. Puller and USS The Sullivans. It’s the latest in a string of close encounters between U.S. and Iranian craft in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically vital waterway off the coast of Iran.

“The Iranian vessel attempted to blind the bridge by shining a spotlight and crossed within 150 yards of the U.S. ships — dangerously close, particularly at night,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “The U.S. ships safely deescalated the situation through the employment of audible warnings and non-lethal lasers. U.S. Navy ships continued their transit without further incident.”

American military officials condemned the move, calling the Iranian actions a violation of “international standards of professional and safe maritime behavior.”

Officials also said the latest incident underscores Iran’s attempts to destabilize the region through provocative moves at sea.

One of the highest-profile encounters came in August when an Iranian ship connected a towing line to an American Saildrone Explorer unmanned craft in an apparent attempt by the Iranians to seize the vessel. The attempt was unsuccessful.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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