On January 9, the Department of Defense released a video that shows how an Iranian naval vessel fired several unguided missiles near the USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier in the crowded Strait of Hormuz where Western warships and commercial craft were also present. The near-miss happened on December 26 in the narrow straits that connect the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean and through which passes much of the world’s petroleum supply in hundreds of oil tankers.

The video recorded the firing of rockets from a distance of approximately 4,500 feet or 1,370 meters. U.S. Central Command gave notice of the details of the incident soon afterwards, but a Freedom of Information Act request has since revealed the video.

It was approximately 20 minutes before the incident occurred that the Iranian military advised over maritime radio the live-fire exercise. Even while the missiles streaked away from the U.S. aircraft carrier, the risk to ships in the straits was significant.

According to Commander Kevin Stephens, who spoke for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, firing the rockets "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."

Stephens said "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."

Iranian spokesman Gen. Ramezan Sharif wrote on the website of the Revolutionary Guards, "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." The statement dismissed the incident, despite the video evidence, as "psychological warfare," against the Islamic Republic.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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