Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday accused Washington of trying to spread anti-Iranian sentiment in the Mideast by claiming that Iranian boats threatened US warships in the Persian Gulf.
The Jan. 6 incident in the Strait of Hormuz between US and Iranian naval vessels has heightened tensions between Teheran and Washington.
The US has said an Iranian fleet of high-speed boats charged at and threatened to blow up a three-ship US Navy convoy passing near Iranian waters. The Iranian naval forces vanished as the American ship commanders were preparing to open fire.
Iran has insisted its boats never threatened the US ships and that the incident was a normal occurrence in the Gulf waters.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini reiterated Sunday that the incident was not unusual and would not affect Iran's policies in the region. He accused the administration of US President George W. Bush of trying to stir up tensions in the Gulf.
"Some political factions in the US are pursuing adventurism to help Bush to spread Iran-phobia in the region," Hosseini said.
"US officials should seek for apology from Iran, regional countries and American people," he told reporters at this weekly press conference.
Earlier Sunday in Bahrain, US Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, commander of the US Navy's 5th Fleet, which patrols the Gulf, told Bush, who was in Bahrain as part of a Mideast tour, that he took the incident "deadly seriously."
On Friday, the Navy also said one of its ships had fired warning shots at a small Iranian boat in the Strait of Hormuz in December during one of two serious encounters with such craft that month.
But Hosseini on Sunday said: "This was not confirmed by any of the related authorities."
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