Without his permission, I have stolen excerpts. But you must visit his blog because much devil is in the details that are further discussed in the comments. My excerpts are intended to draw attention to historical FACTs about US aggression against Iran.
With a formal protest lodged by the US, the incident will be taken seriously, yet the case against Iran is a loser. In the second video above, the Iranian patrol boat captain hails vessel 73, which replies to his hail and identifies itself as a coalition warship. The Iranian then requests the vessel's course and speed. The warship replies that it is "operating in international waters," and gives the same reply to repeated requests for clarification of course and speed. The warship's reply is false, since the Straits of Hormuz are only 21 miles at their widest, and much narrower for large-ship navigation. Ships can't pass through there without being in territorial waters claimed by either Oman or Iran under the transit passage provisions of UNCLOS, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. ... [this point is challenged by a caitlyna, commenting on legal aspects of LOS, however ...]Read MarcLord's post
Given past US actions in its waters, and its recent hostile stance, there's abundant basis for Iran to cite the US as a security threat.
- On 18 April 1988, the U.S. Navy waged a one-day battle against Iranian forces in and around the strait. The battle, dubbed Operation Praying Mantis by the U.S. side, was launched in retaliation for the 14 April mining of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58). U.S. forces sank two Iranian warships and as many as six armed speedboats in the engagement.
- On July 3, 1988, 290 people were killed when an Iran AirAirbus A300 passenger jet was shot down over the strait by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. There is still lingering controversy about the event, considered among the most controversial tragedies in aviation history.
- On January 10, 2007, the nuclear submarine USS Newport News, traveling submerged, struck M/V Mogamigawa, a 300,000-ton Japanese-flagged large oil tanker just south of the strait. (Wikipedia credit for links in this paragraph.) The tanker had suddenly slowed before impact, indicating the US submarine was attempting clandestine underwater passage in its prop wash. Hardly innocent transit.
Does legality matter in the Persian Gulf? Not yet, and Iran may have reason to feel contemptuous of the UN's impartiality. Ultimately, however, legality could become very important, and knowing how laws regarding coastal sovereignty are supposed to be handled calls the competing official versions out into clearer, less bullshit-clouded light.