A number of federal officials have confirmed that several Iranian naval vessels approached an American aircraft carrier in international waters and fired several unguided missiles in its direction. The aggressive maneuver comes at a time when lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pressed the Obama administration to halt sanctions relief to Iran after learning of the country’s recent missile tests.
Photo by Cristina Young/U.S. Navy via Getty Images
According to The Hill, the incident, which has been deemed “certainly unnecessarily provocative” and “unsafe” by a U.S. military official, occurred on December 26 in the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian ships closed to a mere 1,500 yards from the USS Harry S. Truman before unleashing a volley of missiles in the opposite direction from the aircraft carrier.
Around 10:36 am, “they were observed quickly approaching their location as they transited the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf,” one official said. Less than ten minutes later, Iran carried out a “previously unannounced live-fire exercise over maritime radio and requested for nearby vessels to remain.” Forty minutes later, the warning was repeated and the ships began to launch the rockets.
The military official claims that the rockets were fired in the opposite direction from both the aircraft carrier and from other coalition and merchant vessels in the area. Iran’s show of military force could coincide with the fact that the Truman is the first aircraft carrier to patrol the region since October; when the USS Theodore Roosevelt left the region, Iran carried out a ballistic missile test.
This week, New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte introduced legislation that would prevent the Obama administration from implementing the sanctions relief component of the nuclear deal framework until Iran can prove that no part of its nuclear aspirations involve military uses. It would also compel the administration to prove that Iran’s recent missile tests do not correlate to the nuclear program either.