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U.S.-Iran naval confrontation in Gulf raises tensions

While the US State Department demands an explanation, Iran's Foreign Ministry calls the incident 'normal.'

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Five Iranian fast boats confronted a small flotilla of US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf in a "careless, reckless and potentially hostile" incident Sunday, Pentagon officials said.

The incident, which ended after the Iranian boats turned away with no shots fired, occurred as President Bush prepared to visit the Middle East for talks this week. It considerably raises tensions between Iran and the United States.

The US Navy routinely encounters Iranian boats in the region, but the actions of the Iranian Navy on Sunday are "more serious than we've seen," said Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, commander of the US Fifth Fleet.

"These are unnecessarily provocative [actions] in international waters," Admiral Cosgriff told reporters by videoconference from his headquarters in Bahrain.

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