Saturday, January 9, 2016
The U.S. military released a video Saturday showing what it says is an Iranian military vessel firing several unguided rockets near the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman and other Western warships and commercial craft.
The incident occurred Dec. 26 in the Strait of Hormuz. Navy officials released the video to Military Times in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The images show what appears to be an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel firing rockets from a distance of about 1,370 meters.
Officials with U.S. Central Command first disclosed details about the incident last month. Approximately 20 minutes before the incident occurred, the Iranians had announced over maritime radio that they would be carrying out a live-fire exercise, officials said.
Although the rockets traveled away from the Truman, firing weapons "so close to passing coalition ships and commercial traffic within an internationally recognized maritime traffic lane is unsafe, unprofessional and inconsistent with international maritime law," said Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.
Iran had dismissed the U.S. claim as "psychological warfare" against the Islamic Republic.
"The Guard's Navy had no drills in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz and didn't fire missiles or rockets during the past week and the time claimed by the Americans," Gen. Ramezan Sharif, a Revolutionary Guard spokesman, said on the Revolutionary Guard's website.
Stephens said on Saturday that while "most interactions between Iranian forces and the U.S. Navy are professional, safe, and routine, this event was not and runs contrary to efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime safety in the global commons.