US formally protests Iranian harassment of US warships in Persian Gulf

The United States is protesting to Iran through normal diplomatic channels an incident in which Iranian speedboats harassed US warships in the Persian Gulf. The protest repeats US complaints about last Sunday's "provocative" action in the Strait of Hormuz and was sent to the Iranian Foreign Ministry via the Swiss Embassy in Teheran, which represents US interests in Iran, the State Department said. "It reiterates the points that we have made publicly in the last few days," deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters. "We certainly don't want to see the Iranians taking any kind of provocative actions or provocative steps against our ships or against any ships that are transiting what is a primary international waterway." In Teheran, Iranian Foreign Ministry officials said they were unaware of the US protest. At a Pentagon news conference, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Iranian boats had acted "in a pretty aggressive manner."