The U.S. Navy has released video footage showing what it has described as a “provocative” rocket launch by Iran near warships and commercial traffic in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The U.S. Navy said the infrared radar footage showed an Iranian “fast inshore attack craft” launching several rockets on December 26 “in close proximity” to the Truman, the guided missile destroyer USS Bulkeley, the French naval frigate FS Provence and commercial ships in the busy waterway. The footage clearly shows them firing rockets near a commercial vessel. It says Iranian warships were not engaged in any kind of military exercise at that time, and that the U.S. is trying to wage psychological warfare by spreading false information..
The incident in Iran is not the first time tensions have risen in the strait.
“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. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the Navy’s 5th Fleet.
USA and Iranian forces clashed in the Strait of Hormuz in the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq war. On April 18, 1988, the USA attacked two Iranian oil rigs and sank or damaged six Iranian vessels in Operation Praying Mantis. The shoot-down of the jet came shortly after the USA vessel reported coming under fire from Iranian speedboats. Iran has always denied seeking nuclear arms.
The video – which appears to counter Iran’s denial of the missile tests – comes as pressure has mounted for the Obama administration to impose fresh sanctions on Iran, after it test-fired two medium-range ballistic missiles and showed off a purported underground missile facility on national television.