Earlier this week, we reported on a series of aggressive interactions between Iranian ships and the USNS Invincible, an American surveillance ship in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway separating the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Sea.  Now the Iranian government is challenging the U.S. Navy’s account of the second incident, and delivering a warning to Iran’s enemies.

The first incident occurred last Thursday, when an Iranian Navy Frigate paced the unarmed USNS Invincible at an inappropriate distance.  The American government classified the action as “unprofessional” but noted that the frigate did not take any further hostile action, maintaining a parallel course that left the Invincible in what amounted to a tense standoff, but never crossing the line into what would be considered “unsafe” actions by the international community.

Then on Saturday, the USNS Invincible was targeted once again, this time however, by fast attack boats belonging to the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard.  According to U.S. accounts, the Invincible was traveling in formation with three vessels from the British Navy when the fast attack boats positioned themselves directly in their path.  The American and British ships were then forced to change course in order to avoid a collision with the smaller Iranian vessels.

On Wednesday, however, an Iranian guard commander challenged the U.S. ship’s account of the events, claiming instead that the unarmed Invincible changed course toward the fast attack boats, which, their claim seems to assume, were just minding their own business in the strategic waterway.

Iranian Guard commander Mehdi Hashemi claims that the United States provoked the incident, which was the first aggressively “unsafe” interaction between Iranian and American ships since the crew of the USS Mahan was forced to fire warning shots at similar Iranian fast attack boats that were set on a high-speed intercept course with the American vessel in January of this year.

“The unprofessional actions of the Americans can have irreversible consequences,” commander Hashemi told reporters on Wednesday.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, also made a public statement on Wednesday that would seem to be tied to their claims of American aggression in the region, despite not citing U.S. forces by name.

“If Iran’s ignorant enemies think about invading Iran they should know that our armed forces are much stronger than 1980 when Iraq attacked,” he said in a televised speech.