Iran’s navy claimed Sunday that it warned off a US Navy EP-3E aircraft after it entered the country's border close to the Gulf of Oman, the Tasnim news agency reported.
Tasnim, which is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), did not provide more details but its brief report indicated it was the traditional army’s navy that warned off the US plane, and not the IRGC navy.
The plane then moved away from the country's air border and returned to international routes, Tasnim said.
The EP-3E is a land-based multi-intelligence reconnaissance aircraft based on the P-3 Orion airframe, but upgraded from signal intelligence to multi-intelligence role, according to US Navy’s description.
Iranian naval forces occasionally harass US Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf region, often using armed speedboats that approach dangerously close to warships. On some occasions, US forces have fired warning shots during such encounters.
The US Central Command in charge of all military forces in the Middle East has not issued any statement about the incident claimed by Iran.
Iran has repeatedly said its ultimate goal is to drive the United States out of the region, including from Iraq, Syria and the Persian Gulf region.
In December and January, the US and British navies have stopped several un-flagged vessels in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea that were transporting weapons from Iran to the Houthi fighters in Yemen and confiscated large quantities of arms and ammunition.
The US Justice Department announced Friday that it has filed a forfeiture motion over the confiscated ammunition and material.