TEHRAN, Iran — The chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard navy confirmed in remarks published Friday that a U.S. Coast Guard vessel fired on an Iranian fishing boat in the Persian Gulf this week but insisted the incident was not a "clash."
The U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said that personnel on a small boat dispatched from the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat Monomoy fired a single shot on Tuesday when they saw crew on a nearby Iranian dhow training a .50-caliber machine gun on them and preparing to fire.
No one was hurt in the encounter, which came as the two countries work to hammer out a lasting deal over Iran's controversial nuclear program.
The shot from the U.S. patrol boat was fired "in the air about three miles away" from the Iranian boat, Adm. Ali Fadavi was quoted as saying by the Tasnim News Agency.
"It wasn't a clash but a single shot in the air ... there was no clash between Iranian and American forces," Fadavi said, adding that "Americans feared and felt danger from a fishing dhow."
Dhows are traditional wooden boats common to the region that are typically used for trade.
American, Iranian and other countries' military vessels routinely patrol the Persian Gulf, a key route for international oil shipments, usually without incident.
Speed boats from Iran's Guard, however, have passed close to U.S. ships in incidents that have raised alarm in Washington.
Fadavi, the Iranian officer, also said the Americans "should be fearful" as long as they are present in the Gulf. Tehran has long decried the U.S. presence in the critical waterway as a source of tension in the region.
The West and Israel believe Iran's nuclear program is aimed at building am atomic weapon. Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation and medical research.