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Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

An Iranian military helicopter "circled" close to a U.S. Navy warship in an "unsafe and unprofessional manner" three times in the Gulf of Oman, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Monday.

The big picture: Saturday's incident, which ended without impact, comes as U.S. special envoy for Iran Rob Malley visits the Middle East ahead of the resumption of indirect nuclear talks with Iran.

Details: Kirby said at a briefing that the Iranian helicopter came within 25 yards of the USS Essex in the Gulf, including "at one point as low as about 10 feet off the surface of the ocean," Kirby said.

  • "[T]he crew of the Essex took the appropriate force protection measures that they felt they needed to, and they acted, of course, in accordance with international law," he continued.
  • "There was no impact ultimately to the Essex transit or their operations.  But that doesn't mean that this wasn't an unsafe and unprofessional act."
  • Kirby did not reveal the specific location of the incident and Iranian officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Go deeper

Nov 24, 2021 - World

U.S. assurances on Iran met with skepticism in the region

Lloyd Austin addresses the Manama Dialogue. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

MANAMA, Bahrain — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was among top U.S. officials who spoke at the Manama Dialogue last weekend about the U.S. commitment to stand up to Iran, but their words were met with skepticism.

Why it matters: In the public sessions and in private conversations, many of the Arab and Israeli participants discussed the perception that the U.S. is leaving the region and not projecting sufficient power to deter Iran.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.