US sailors in a rigid-hull inflatable boat approach the USNS Invincible to conduct a personnel transfer Photo: Courtesy Deven B King/US Navy via Reuters

Multiple fast-attack vessels from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard came close to a US Navy ship in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, forcing it to change direction, an American official told Reuters on Monday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the boats came within 600 meters of the USNS Invincible, a tracking ship, and stopped. The Invincible and three ships from the British Royal Navy accompanying it had to change course.

The official said attempts were made to communicate over radio, but there was no response and the interaction was “unsafe and unprofessional.” The Iranian Revolutionary Guard could not immediately be reached for a comment.

Years of mutual animosity eased when Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran last year after a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But serious differences remain over Iran’s ballistic missile program and conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

While still a presidential candidate in September, Donald Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harassed the US Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water.”

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