USA defends its provocation against Iran in Persian Gulf

The US Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet had no immediate comment

"At 4 pm (1130 GMT) on Friday, the supercarrier USS Nimitz and its accompanying warship, while being monitored by the Guards' frigates, flew a helicopter near the Resalat oil and gas platform and approached the force's ships", the Guards said.

The Bahrain-based 5th Fleet also claimed that several Iranian vessels were approaching American ships "at a high rate of speed".

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

"In a provocative and unprofessional action, the Americans fired flares to warn the Zolfaqar flotilla vessels", the statement of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) read as quoted by the Tasnim news agency.

It is the second confrontation between USA and Iranian navies in the Persian Gulf this week.

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Today, Iran condemned new sanctions passed by the US Congress against its missile programme, which President Donald Trump is set to sign into law, and vowed to continue it.

In April, the United States accused a a guard corps ship of acting in an "unprofessional but also provocative" manner while approaching an American destroyer, the USS Mahan, while it was sailing in the Persian Gulf.

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

The articles say the US Administration, acting consistently with the respective roles of the President and Congress, will refrain from reimposing the sanctions or any policy specifically meant to directly and adversely affect the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran. The measure would also apply terrorism sanctions to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard and enforce an arms embargo.

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

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