The Latest: US Navy says Iran sea encounter "professional"

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on Iran-US relations (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

The U.S. Navy has responded to a report by Iran's official news agency that a U.S. aircraft carrier fired a warning shot during an "unprofessional" confrontation with Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf on Friday.

The Navy describes the encounter "as safe and professional."

The Bahrain-based 5th Fleet says one of its helicopters was on a routine patrol in international airspace when it saw several Iranian vessels approaching American ships "at a high rate of speed." The Navy says the helicopter tried to establish communications but received no response, so it sent out flares, prompting the Iranian boats to halt their approach.

Navy spokesman Lt. Ian M. McConnaughey says that after communications were established, the U.S. saw the Iranians conduct a "gun exercise" that involved weapons being fired into the water away from American ships.

The incident comes after a U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots Tuesday near an Iranian vessel that American sailors said came dangerously close to them.


4 p.m.

Iranian state TV is reporting that a parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy is in an urgent meeting to review its response to a package of sanctions approved by the U.S. Senate.

The Saturday report says deputy foreign minister and senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi said the U.S. legislation amounts to a "hostile" breach of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. It now goes to President Donald Trump for signing.

Araghchi says: "A strong answer will be given to the action by the U.S."

The U.S. legislation imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. It would also apply terrorism sanctions to Iran's prestigious Revolutionary Guard and enforce an arms embargo.


1 p.m.

Iran's state news agency is reporting that a U.S. navy aircraft carrier has fired a warning shot in an "unprofessional" confrontation with Iranian vessels.

A Saturday report by the official IRNA news agency says the USS Nimitz and an accompanying ship came near an Iranian oil offshore platform in the Persian Gulf and a helicopter from the ship hovered near vessels manned by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.

The report said the encounter took place Friday afternoon and the U.S. navy ships left the area afterward.

The confrontation comes just three days after a U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots near an Iranian vessel that American sailors said came dangerously close to them during a tense encounter.

Similar incidents have been common between Iranian and American ships in recent years.

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