Three Iranian vessels unsuccessfully tried to impede the passage of a British commercial vessel through the Strait of Hormuz, the United Kingdom has said.
The British government said in a statement on Thursday that the Iranian ships on Wednesday only turned away after receiving “verbal warnings” from a UK navy vessel accompanying the commercial vessel British Heritage.
“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to deescalate the situation in the region,” the statement said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected the accusation, according to Fars news agency.
“Apparently the British tanker has passed. What they have said themselves and the claims that have been made are for creating tension and these claims have no value,” he said.
The Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards also denied involvement in the incident, according to a statement issued on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday, two US officials told Reuters news agency that five boats believed to belong to the Guards were involved in the incident.
“The Royal Navy HMS Montrose, which was also there, pointed its guns at the boats and warned them over radio, at which point they dispersed,” one of the officials with the knowledge of the incident said.
“It was harassment and an attempt to interfere with the passage,” the other official said.OPINION
The US military confirmed the incident in a statement but declined to share any further details of the incident that comes a week after an Iranian oil tanker believed to be headed to Syria was seized by British Royal Marines off Gibraltar.