Iran Says U.S. Faked Warship Video

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's Revolutionary Guards accused the United States on Wednesday of fabricating video and audio released by the Pentagon that shows Iranian boats confronting U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

The video from Sunday's incident shows small Iranian boats swarming around U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. In the recording, a man speaking in heavily accented English threatened, "I am coming to you. ... You will explode after ... minutes."

"The footage released by the U.S. Navy was compiled using file pictures and the audio has been fabricated," the state-run channel Press TV quoted an official in the Revolutionary Guards as saying.

State TV did not give the name of the Revolutionary Guard figure and did not offer more details about how the official knew the footage was "fabricated."

The Bush administration continued to denounce the incident as "provocative."

"This is a provocative act -- not a smart thing to do, and they are going to have to take responsibility for the consequences, if they do it again," U.S. President George W. Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters Wednesday aboard Air Force One as Bush flew from Washington to Israel.

Hadley adding that his comments should not be seen as a threat.

In the four-minute, 20-second video released Tuesday, the Iranian boats appeared to ignore repeated warnings from the U.S. ships, including horn blasts and radio transmissions, according to the video, which was shot from the bridge of the destroyer USS Hopper.

From the Hopper, after spotting the approaching Iranian boats, a U.S. Navy crew member says over the radio: "This is coalition warship. I am engaged in transit passage in accordance with international law. Intend no harm."

The audio and video recordings were made separately but were pulled together by the Navy. Often uneven and shaky, the video condenses what Navy officials have said was a 20-minute or so clash.

Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar on Wednesday called Western news reports reporting that the boats threatened to blow up the U.S. warships "mischief."

"[Iranian] Navy units ... asked them to identify themselves. They responded accordingly and continued their path," the official IRNA news agency quoted Najjar as saying.

"The identification of vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian Navy units is a natural occurrence," IRNA quoted Najjar as saying. "Islamic Republic of Iran Navy units always put questions to passing vessels and warships at the Strait of Hormuz and they need to identify themselves. This is in accordance with the normal procedures."

But the top Navy commander in the Gulf has disputed Iran's claims that the incident was a routine encounter, saying Iran's "provocative" actions were "deadly serious" to the U.S. military.

Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff said the Iranian fleet of high-speed boats charged the U.S. warships and threatened to blow up the Navy convoy as it passed near but outside Iranian waters on Sunday. The Iranian fleet "maneuvered aggressively," and then fled as the U.S. ship commanders were preparing to open fire, he said. No shots were fired.