Iran threatens to shoot down US aircraft in Gulf

Iran’s belligerence continues as it threatens the US with whom it signed the Iran Nuclear Deal last year.

Iran threatened to shoot down two US Navy aircraft flying in the Persian Gulf during the weekend, CNN reported Tuesday.

A US defense official said aircraft were flying in international airspace but “near Iranian airspace,” the report said.

The Iranians made a radio call to the EP-3 and P-8 aircraft, warning them that they would be shot down with anti-aircraft missiles if they entered Iranian airspace.

The US aircraft did not enter Iranian airspace and proceeded without incident.

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is used to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction, along with an electronic signals intelligence (ELINT) role. The Lockheed EP-3 is used for signals reconnaissance by the US Navy.

This is the latest incident in a growing list of Iranian provocations against US forces, mostly maritime, in the region.

The number of acts of belligerence by Iranian forces against US troops stationed in the area has more than doubled since the signing of the controversial nuclear deal a year ago.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the top commander of US forces in the Middle East, sharply criticized Iran  for its naval provocations, saying they are worrying because they risk setting off a full-blown conflict.

In the past weeks, there have been several dangerous encounters that US ships had with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) boats in the Gulf.

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Last December, the Iranians fired rockets near a US warship and other vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, and a month later flew a drone over the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News 
AP contributed to this report.