IRGC Launches Military Drill in Strait of Hormuz
Iran's Revolutionary Guard launched missiles Tuesday targeting a mock aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a drill that was condemned by the US as "irresponsible and reckless behavior by Iran."
Footage broadcasted on Iranian state television showed the IRGC's air and naval forces readying for an attack off the country's southwest coast.
Speedboats skimmed across the water in formation before ground forces fired cannons and a missile was launched from a helicopter.
The mock-up of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier came into view with rows of dummy fighter jets on either side of its landing strip, AFP reported.
Another missile fired from a helicopter left a trail of smoke before appearing to smash into the side of the fake warship.
The drill, in a waterway through which 20% of all traded oil passes, underlines the lingering threat of military conflict between Iran and the US after last summer saw a series of incidents targeting oil tankers in the region, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
For his part, IRGC commander, Major General Hossein Salami told state television that the drills were offensive.
"What was shown today in these exercises at the level of aerospace and naval forces was all offensive,"
Meanwhile, spokeswoman for the US Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet that patrols the Mideast, said officials were aware of the Iranian exercise, which she described as "attempting to intimidate and coerce,” AP reported.
“While we are always watchful of this type of irresponsible and reckless behavior by Iran in the vicinity of busy international waterways, this exercise has not disrupted coalition operations in the area nor had any impacts to the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and surrounding waters,” Rebecca Rebarich said.
She noted that the US Navy conducts defensive exercises with partners to promote maritime security in support of freedom of navigation whereas Iran conducts offensive exercises, attempting to intimidate and coerce.
Tensions have escalated between Iran and the United States since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal in 2018.
According to Reuters, the Guards in April said Tehran would destroy US warships if Iran's security is threatened in the Gulf.