U.S. Central Command Command Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, speaks to reporters at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, during a briefing to provide update on USCENTCOM operations. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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The top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East sharply criticized Iran on Tuesday for recent high-speed maneuvers by Iranian patrol boats in the Persian Gulf that in one case prompted a U.S. Navy ship to fire warning shots.The U.S. maintains a near-continuous naval presence in the Gulf and thus has frequent, mostly benign, encounters with Iranian vessels.Votel praised the U.S. sailors' handling of the incidents. He said the problem seems to lie not with the regular Iranian navy but with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps naval forces, which have been accused by the U.S. numerous times of provocative behavior in the Gulf.
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