In what a US military spokesperson called a “highly provocative” act, the Iranian navy test-fired rockets in close proximity to a number of US navy warships, including the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, in the Gulf last week.
The USS Harry S. Truman was escorted by two other warships, and a French frigate and US destroyer were also in the area where Iran fired the rockets.
According to a US military spokesman, one rocket was fired from within about 1,500 yards of the USS Truman after the Iranian navy gave very short notice via radio – 23 minutes – that it was about to conduct a live-fire exercise.
Though the rockets were not aimed or fired towards any ship, the incident raised grave concerns over the threatening nature of the act, which took place in one of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
Navy Commander Kyle Raines, spokesman for the US Central Command, said in a statement that “[Iran’s] actions were highly provocative, unsafe, and unprofessional and call into question Iran’s commitment to the security of a waterway vital to international commerce.”
The trio of US warships were part of the US-led coalition conducting airstrikes against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, and they were entering the Gulf through the Hormuz Strait on a routine transit when the Iranian navy released their unguided rockets from a “fast inshore attack craft” in Omani waters.
Raines added in his statement that Iran’s test-firing of the rockets near the US ships and other nearby merchant traffic “runs contrary to efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime safety in the global commons.”