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Iran: ‘U.S. faked conflict video’

(CNN) — Iran has denounced video and audio recording released by the United States of the two nations’ confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz as fabricated, according to statements carried by state-run television station.

The footage released by the U.S. Navy was compiled using file pictures and the audio has been fabricated, English-language channel Press TV reported an official in the Revolutionary Guards as saying Wednesday.

The Pentagon Tuesday released a four-minute, 20-second video of Sunday’s incident, including video showing small Iranian boats swarming around U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf. In the audio recording, a man speaking in heavily accented English threatened, I am coming to you. …You will explode after … minutes.

U.S. President George W Bush called the confrontation a provocative act during a news conference in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday, just before departing for Israel and the West Bank. Watch the confrontation

It’s a dangerous situation, and they should not have done it, pure and simple, Bush said. I don’t know what their thinking was.

The U.S. had called the incident, between five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats and three U.S. Navy ships as a significant confrontation in which the U.S. boats had been harassed and provoked.

An Iranian official, however, said it was not a serious incident, the state-run news agency IRNA reported.

U.S. military officials said the confrontation, between five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats and three U.S. Navy, occurred early Sunday morning in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow shipping channel leading in and out of the Persian Gulf.

The Pentagon said that as the guided missile destroyer USS Hopper, the guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal and the guided-missile frigate USS Ingraham were entering the Persian Gulf, five Iranian boats approached them at high speed and swarmed them.

The Iranian boats made threatening moves toward the U.S. ships and in one case came within 200 yards of one of them, the U.S. officials said.

The U.S. Navy also received a radio transmission that officials believe came from the Iranian boats. The transmission said: I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes, U.S. military officials told CNN.

When the U.S. ships heard that radio transmission, they took up their gun positions and officers were in the process of giving the order to fire when the Iranians abruptly turned away, the U.S. officials added.

After the radio transmission, one of the Iranian boats dropped white boxes into the water in front of the U.S. ships, the officials said. It was not clear what was in the boxes, the officials said. No shots were fired, and no one was injured.

In November the U.S. military reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps — which the United States considers to be a major supporter of terrorist activity — had taken command of Tehran’s naval operations in the Persian Gulf, one of the world’s key shipping regions and an area of high tension.

In March last year, Iran detained 15 crew members of a British ship before releasing them after nearly two weeks. Iran alleged the British vessel strayed into Iranian waters — an assertion Britain strongly denied. E-mail to a friend

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January 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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