A U.S. naval commander says incidents like the one involving Iranian boats and three American Navy ships are taken very seriously because small, high-speed boats have attacked in the region before.
The commander, during a Pentagon news conference, recalled the USS Cole in which 17 U.S. sailors were killed when an explosives-laden boat rammed the destroyer in Yemen.
U.S. officials say Iranian boats harassed and provoked three Navy ships on the way into the Persian Gulf. The commander says the U.S. ships were taking steps toward firing on the Iranians to defend themselves, but the boats turned away.
Iran's Foreign Ministry says that the confrontation was "something normal," and suggests that the Iranian boats had not recognized the U.S. vessels.