Judy Mathewson and Janine Zacharia
April 2 (Bloomberg) -- After years of patrolling in close quarters in the Persian Gulf, the Iranian and U.S. navies have learned how to leave each other alone; the same isn't true of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Guard, which operates with a chain of command separate from Iran's regular navy, sparked an international crisis by seizing 15 British sailors and marines on March 23. As the U.S. Navy stages its largest show of force in the Persian Gulf since 2003, the Guard's unpredictable behavior in those waters increases the likelihood that another incident might inflame the already tense international standoff.

The Guard -- the radical force that the U.S. says is supplying weapons to Shiite insurgents in Iraq, and that calls for exporting Iranian-style revolutions to other Muslim nations -- is ``interpreting their orders differently'' than the regular Iranian Navy, said Kenneth Pollack, a Middle East senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.


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