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Teheran airs video of Hormuz incident
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09:24, January 11, 2008

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Iran aired video yesterday of its boats and US naval ships in the Persian Gulf in an apparent attempt to show that there was no confrontation between the vessels.

The grainy 5-minute, 20-second video showed a man speaking into a handheld radio, with three US ships floating in the distance. It appeared to be shot from a small boat bobbing at least 100 m from the American warships.

The footage did not show any Iranian boats approaching the US vessels, nor any provocation. But the short clip likely did not show Sunday's entire encounter, which US Navy officials described as threatening, and said lasted about 20 minutes.

It aired on Iran's state-run English-language channel Press TV.

The clip also aired on the state-run Al-Alam Arabic channel, with an announcer saying the video showed "a routine and regular measure."

At first, the footage was broadcast without sound, but state TV later aired the clip with audio of radio transmissions between the boats.

"Coalition warship 73, this is (an) Iranian navy patrol boat, how do you copy?" a man's voice said in heavily-accented English.

"This is coalition warship 73, I read you loud and clear. We are operating in international waters," an American voice replied.

The Pentagon has released its own video of Sunday's incident, showing small Iranian boats swarming around US warships in the Strait of Hormuz.

In the recording, a man threatens in English, "I am coming to you. ... You will explode after ... minutes."

The incident, which ended without any shots fired, has heightened US-Iranian tension as President Bush visits the region. Bush was in the West Bank yesterday, and heads next to Arab Gulf nations where he is expected to discuss strategy on Iran.

Iran has denied its boats threatened the US vessels, and accused Washington of fabricating its video. The Pentagon dismissed that claim and warned its ships would respond with force if threatened.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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