The United States on Thursday accused Iran’s naval forces of attacking a U.S. military helicopter with a laser during a routine flight in Gulf international airspace.
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The helicopter is an AH-1Z Viper attached to the warship USS Bataan and is being used by the Americans in this strategic maritime region to deter possible Iranian maneuvers to hijack commercial oil tankers.
The Iranian ships “repeatedly pointed a bright laser at the flying aircraft” on Wednesday, U.S. Naval Forces spokesman Rick Chernitzer said in a statement.
“These are not actions worthy of a professional naval force. “This is dangerous, unprofessional and irresponsible behavior by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Naval Forces that poses a threat to the lives of Americans and our allies and must stop immediately,” he continued.
The United States accuses Iran of seizing or attempting to seize nearly 20 foreign-flagged ships in the region over the past two years.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated since former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the international agreement freezing Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed sanctions on the country.