The Iranian navy targeted a U.S. Navy helicopter near the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, and U.S. officials called the incident "unsafe and unprofessional."
The U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopter was in the air when an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps patrol boat targeted its weapon on it, a U.S. official told the CNN. The helicopter was accompanying the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower while it was leaving the Persian Gulf when the incident happened.
"If they continue to test us, we are going to respond, and we are going to protect ourselves and our partners," Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said at a Pentagon news conference in August, CNN reported.
Iran has been involved in several incidents where it has approached the U.S. Navy in the strait this year. Votel had calculated that "about 90 percent of these unsafe, unprofessional activities" are by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps navy and not Iran's general navy, CNN reported.
"So this is, in my view, is not about the Iranian people," Votel said, per CNN. "It's about the Iranian regime and their desire to continue to do these types of things that stoke instability or attempt to stoke instability in the region."
A U.S. Navy coastal patrol ship had to change course in September when an Iranian fast-attack craft came within 100 yards of it, according to Reuters. In August, the USS Squall fired three warning shots into the water after boats belonging to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps came within close proximity to American warships, CNN noted.
The incidents caught the attention of president-elect Donald Trump while he was on the campaign trail before November's election, leading him to issue a threat to Iran, Reuters noted.
"When they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn't be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water," Trump said at the time, according to Reuters.
The Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman, is a critical commercial shipping area with 20 percent of the world's oil moving through the two-mile wide lane via tanker, according to National Geographic.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.