US officials said the cause of the accident was still unclear. But they point out that in the past such incidents were usually launched by local leaders rather than by senior Iranian leaders.
Despite multiple warnings via loudspeakers and wireless communications, Iranian ships continued to conduct maneuvers at close range, according to the US military. The Iranian boats approached about sixty meters from the American ships. Only after firing a few warning shots did they leave.
The incident comes at a time when negotiations are underway over the Iranian nuclear program in Vienna. In addition to Iran, the European Union, Russia, China, Germany, France and the United Kingdom are on the table. The United States, which withdrew from the 2015 international nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed sanctions on Iran again, is present in Vienna, but has not directly participated in the talks held since the beginning of this month. The aim of the talks is to get both Iran and the United States to comply with the agreement once again.
During the third round, Tuesday, it was decided to increase the pace, according to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran. Iran has boosted production of enriched uranium to higher levels permitted by the agreement since the resignation of the United States. The degree of enrichment may still be insufficient to manufacture nuclear weapons.
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