LONDON (Reuters) - An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Monday that U.S. vessels patrolling the Gulf had changed behavior and now abided by international regulations.

 

Rear Admiral Ali Ozmaei's remarks cited by Tasnim news agency followed last week's comments by U.S. military officials that the Iranian military had halted routine "harassment" of U.S. naval vessels in the Gulf.

 

Each state accuses the other of having flouted international regulations in the sea area, which is a major trade route for oil.

 

In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and U.S. military in the Gulf.

 

"We see that Americans behavior has changed. They pay more attention to international regulations and avoid approaching Iran's territorial waters," Ozmaei, the Guards' fifth naval district commander, said.

 

In the first such confrontation since President Donald Trump took office, a U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots when an Iranian vessel approached to within 450 feet (140 meters) last July.

The following month an unarmed Iranian drone came within 100 feet (30 meters) of a U.S. Navy warplane as it prepared to land on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf.

During the presidential campaign last September, Trump said any Iranian vessel that harassed the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water”.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by Ralph Boulton)