The USS George H.W. Bush went Tuesday through the Strait of Hormuz, the natural barrier between Iran and some U.S. Arab allies in the Middle East. Reuters

UPDATE: 2:39 p.m. EDT - U.S. Navy commanders claimed Iran “harassed” its warships as they passed through the Strait of Hormuz, BBC reported Wednesday.

The Navy had sent Tuesday the USS George H.W. Bush, accompanied by forces from Denmark and France, to the strait as 20 Iranian vessels watched. Communication was attempted with the Iranian ships but they were unresponsive.

The alleged harassment could have been just the latest dust-up between the U.S. and Iran in the militarily critical and economically valuable waterway.

Original Story:

A U.S. aircraft carrier passed through the Strait of Hormuz Tuesday in the latest flash of naval upheaval between the country and Iran. It was also the first movement of such a vessel since President Donald Trump assumed power, Reuters reported.

The USS George H.W. Bush sailed along the strait, a natural barrier between Iran and many U.S. Arab allies in the region where one-fifth of the world’s oil passes. Almost 20 smaller Iranian vessels watched. Over the last several months, Iran and the U.S. Navy have had near run-ins that have exacerbated an already tense relationship over global terrorism and Iran’s nuclear and defense programs.

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Naval forces from both Denmark and France joined the U.S. carrier, where officers aboard reportedly tried to communicate with the Iranian vessels. However, there was no indication that they were responsive. The attempted communication was an effort to avoid any direct military incident, but a Navy spokesperson said the U.S. was prepared to defend itself.

"While these probably don't have explosives, their behavior can lead to a miscalculation because we don't understand their intentions," Lt. Ian McConnaughey told Reuters. "Our intention is never to start anything but if the situation arises, we are within our rights to defend ourselves."

The carrier’s maneuver came after several incidents between the U.S. and Iran in and around the Arabian or Persian Gulf, which separates nations like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman from Iran. It also followed comments from U.S. Central Command chief and Gen. Joseph Votel before the Senate Armed Services committee earlier this month.

Votel called Iran the biggest threat to take over the Middle East and went so far as to call its operations in the gulf “unprofessional.”

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He was, in part, referencing such incidents like the “close encounter” between a U.S. surveillance ship and an Iranian ship in the Gulf of Oman, located just east of the Strait of Hormuz, during which the two ships came within 150 yards of one another.