Tue, Dec 6, 2016 | updated 08:27 AM IST

Iran threatened to launch missiles to shoot down Navy aircraft: US official

Updated: Sep 13, 2016 11:41 IST

New York [USA], Sept. 13 (ANI): A United States defense official has said that US Navy EP-3 and P-8 aircraft were as per initial reports threatened with a potential shoot down over the weekend by Iran as they were flying in the northern Persian Gulf.

The Iranians made a radio call to both planes warning them not to enter Iranian airspace and risk being shot down. They threatened to launch missiles to shoot down the aircraft, the CNN reported the official as saying.

The aircrafts were flying in international airspace but "near Iranian airspace."

The US aircraft never entered Iranian airspace and proceeded without incident.

Senior U.S. military officials are increasingly trying to assess whether the number of incidents with the Iranians has actually increased or whether more incidents are simply being reported by U.S. naval commanders in the region because of the sensitivity to Iranian incidents.

Last month, a U.S. Navy patrol craft fired three warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat after it had harassed the patrol craft when violating the rules, the Iranian boat came within 200 yards of one of the US Navy boats.

The incidents are the latest in a series of all-too-close encounters with Iran in the region since December.

These close encounters have included Iranian rocket launches, drones flying over US vessels and the capture of US sailors in January.

They come against the backdrop of renewed US diplomatic contacts with Iran. (ANI)