16:42 GMT24 November 2020
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    The United States and Iran could reduce the risk of potentially inflammatory incidents at sea by establishing a clear set of rules, US Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said on Monday in Washington, DC.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In recent months, US and Iranian ships have had a number of close encounters in the Persian Gulf.

    "Getting some kind of a ruleset… particularly with the Iranians would also be helpful so that we can have these frameworks for behavior that would guide us more towards useful types of encounters at sea, rather than these ‘close aboard’ types of demonstrations that really don’t have any positive benefit," Richardson said at a forum at the Center for American Progress, a think tank.

    Although US commanders have the authority to respond to at-sea incidents with Iran, such encounters are "potentially destabilizing," Richardson said. He emphasized that as incidents occur at an increasingly close range, "the margin for error gets small [and] human error can play a bigger and bigger role."

    In August, a US patrol vessel fired warning shots at an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) vessel that had come within 300 yards (274 meters) of a group of US ships conducting exercises in the Persian Gulf, according to US officials.

    In January, the IRGC captured 10 US sailors after their command boats strayed into Iranian waters. The sailors were released within 24 hours.


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