By MARTHA RADDATZ and JONATHAN KARL
Jan. 10, 2008
Just two days after the U.S. Navy released the eerie video of Iranian speedboats swarming around American warships, which featured a chilling threat in English, the Navy is saying that the voice on the tape could have come from the shore or from another ship.
U.S. Navy Face-Off with Iran
The near-clash occurred over the weekend in the Strait of Hormuz. On the U.S.-released recording, a voice can be heard saying to the Americans, "I am coming to you. You will explode after a few minutes."
The Navy never said specifically where the voices came from, but many were left with the impression they had come from the speedboats because of the way the Navy footage was edited.
Today, the spokesperson for the U.S. admiral in charge of the Fifth Fleet clarified to ABC News that the threat may have come from the Iranian boats, or it may have come from somewhere else.
We're saying that we cannot make a direct connection to the boats there," said the spokesperson. "It could have come from the shore, from another ship passing by. However, it happened in the middle of all the very unusual activity, so as we assess the information and situation, we still put it in the total aggregate of what happened Sunday morning. I guess we're not saying that it absolutely came from the boats, but we're not saying it absolutely didn't."
The Iranians have denied using the threatening language and are saying U.S.-released video is fabricated. Today, the Iranian government aired its own video of the event on state-run TV there. On the audio, the voice that the Iranians say is the communication from their vessel can be heard identifying itself to the American ship, "Coalition warship No. 73 this is an Iranian navy patrol boat."
The incident ended without shots being fired, but senior defense officials told ABC News that the USS Hopper's gunners were within seconds of firing on the Iranians.