BOMBSHELL footage has emerged of a US warship being swarmed by Iranian drones and speedboats.
The US Navy arrived in the Middle East last week to support deterrence efforts in the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) released the footage on Saturday of the USS Bataan assault ship passing through the strait accompanied by choppers.
The boat was also accompanied by the USS Carter Hall land docking ship with 4,000 troops onboard between them.
Iranian media claims that the IRGC’s provocative moves forced the US helicopters to land back on the carrier shortly after taking-off by sending warnings, drones and speedboats.
Washington has not yet commented on the event.
Shocking pictures show Iranian vessels nail-bitingly close to the huge US warship, while drones helped to harass the ship and snap footage right above it.
The US has been beefing up its military presence in the region as Iranian seizures threaten oil tankers plying the Gulf – a move long demanded by Gulf Arab states who accused Washington of retreating from area.
The moves follow a spate of capture and attempted capture of ships in and around the Strait of Hormuz, the U-shaped gateway to the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea that carries a fifth of world oil output.
The US military says Iran has either seized or attempted to take nearly 20 internationally flagged ships in the region in the past two years.
“There is a heightened threat, a heightened risk to regional mariners in terms of seizures” by Iran in the strait, said Commander Tim Hawkins, spokesman for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
“Right now, our focus is on… increasing our presence in and near the Strait of Hormuz to ensure security and stability in a very critical waterway,” he added.
Earlier this month, Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder revealed: “Our hope would be that the trend will downward….But ultimately that’s up to Iran.
“In the meantime, we’re going to do everything we can to ensure the safety and security in the region and the continued ability of commerce to transit the Strait of Hormuz unimpeded.”
Iran has hit back recently at the increasing US deployment of ships in the strait.
A chief diplomat argued that the region doesn’t need “foreigners” providing security.