MANAMA, BAHRAIN, FEB. 14 -- Iran said today that its forces fired on U.S. Navy helicopters flying ahead of a convoy of U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti ships in the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon said it had no evidence of the incident.
An Iranian naval commander, according to state-run Tehran radio, said the incident occurred Friday evening. Around the same time, an Iraqi warplane fired two cruise missiles, one of which came within eight miles of the convoy.
The commander, whose name was not given, said U.S. reconnaissance helicopters were fired upon as they operated near the Iranian islands of Sirri and Abu Musa and the oil platforms of Salman and Nasr.
U.S. pool reporters who were with the convoy Friday night said U.S. helicopters were aloft about the time that Iran said it fired on the aircraft. They said the sound of antiaircraft guns was heard from Sirri Island within 20 minutes after the Iraqi missile incident.
The Iranian naval commander said Iranian troops fired warning shots and issued radio warnings to the helicopters, then opened direct fire after the warnings went unheeded, driving the U.S. helicopters away.
A Pentagon spokesman said today that U.S. officials had heard the reports, but "at this point in time we just have no reports to indicate that anything like that occurred."