State Department: Iranian Harassment of U.S. Ships 'Unacceptable,' Escalates Tensions

August 25, 2016

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau called harassment of U.S. Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf by Iranian ships "unacceptable" during Thursday's press briefing.

The comments came shortly after it was revealed that an American vessel was harassed by Iran for the second time this week. However, in the more recent incident, one of the American ships fired three warning shots toward the Iranians.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked Trudeau if the State Department and Obama administration would engage in a diplomatic response to the Iranians over the incident.

"I would actually back up a step and say that we are aware the four Iranian vessels approached the USS Nitze as it was transiting international waters in the Strait of Hormuz," Trudeau said. "We've also, just now, seen the reports of another incident that happened yesterday as well. The Department of Defense spoke to this yesterday. We assess the actions were unsafe, they were unprofessional.

"We would note we don't know what the intentions of the Iranian ships were, but that behavior is unacceptable as our ships were in international waters. We believe that these type of actions are of concern. They unnecessarily escalate tensions."

Lee asked if the State Department would be leading and confrontation to the Iranians in the wake of the harassment. Trudeau referred any further questions on the matter to the Department of Defense.