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Iranian world service TV package explains

BBC Monitoring

Text of report in English by Iranian English language news channel Press TV website on 8 January

[Female presenter Touria Ghaffari] Iran has dismissed US claims that Iranian boats harassed American warships in the Persian Gulf waters over the weekend. The Iranian Foreign Ministry says that contrary to the US reports the encounter between the Iranian and US vessels was a usual occurrence that was resolved when the parties identified each other. Let us take a closer look at this.

[Video shows a map of southern Iran highlighting Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf]

[Female correspondent Homa Lezgee] US reports that the American warships had prepared to fire at approaching Iranian boats in the strategic Strait of Hormuz situated in the Persian Gulf:

[US Navy Commander Vice-Adm Kevin Cosgriff; identified by caption] The (?troops) manoeuvred aggressively in the direction of the US ships. They were called on radio, they were [changes thoughts] - ships' whistles were sounded, those sorts of things, to draw the attention to the fact that their manoeu! vres were cause of concern to the commanding officers.

[Video shows a warship, a close up of parts of a ship, US flag flying on top of one ship, and a final shot of three ships]

[Correspondent] In Iran, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps says no hostile encounter took place between the two sides. An IRGC official said a cruiser, a destroyer and a frigate belonging to the US Navy approached the Iranian boats. The Iranians asked the warships to identify themselves, but the US ships refused to do so. Iran's Foreign Ministry confirmed these remarks, saying that the incident was something normal.

[Video shows a still picture of the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman with video of US warships in the background]

[Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hoseyni in Persian with voice-over translation into English] What has happened during the past days, as I said, have not been unprecedented and it was a usual thing. And, when there are different forces pre! sent in the waters, it is very natural for them to exchange messages i n order to know each other, to identify each other; and after the exchange of these messages, the issue was finished and closed.

[Correspondent] But, the US is raising the case as a potentially hostile incident, threatening to confront Iran.

[US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack] We (?urge) Iran to refrain from any provocative actions that could lead to dangerous incidents in the future.

[Video shows US official and archive video of a warship]

[Correspondent] Political analysts say the US approach is in line with Washington's policy of confrontation with Tehran.

[Senior editor, Executive Intelligence Review, Jeff Steinberg] Many people in the US military who oppose military confrontation with Iran are very worried about the possibility of a minor incident in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, being the pretext that Cheney and company would use for a confrontation.

[Video shows an archive video of George Bush speaking]

[Correspondent] The incident comes days ahead of US President George Bush's visit to the Middle East. The trip analysts say is meant to confront Iran's growing influence in the region by portraying it as a threat to regional states.

[Video shows an archive video of Iranian president, Saudi Arabian king and the sultan of Oman walking together holding each others' hands]

Source: Press TV website, Tehran, in English 0900 gmt 8 Jan 08



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