Iranian naval vessels conducted rocket tests last week near U.S. warships and commercial traffic passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the American military said Wednesday, December 30, causing new tension between the two nations after a landmark nuclear deal, the Associated Press reports.
The vital strait, a narrow waterway between Iran and Oman that is the route for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea, is crucial for ships taking part in the war against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. In the past, Iran has threatened to block the strait, which lies at the entrance of the Persian Gulf.
While the United States has complained previously about other Iranian war games and maneuvers there, Saturday’s incident comes after a series of weapons tests and other moves by the Islamic Republic following the nuclear deal. Iranian media and officials did not immediately discuss the tests Wednesday.
Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, said in a statement that Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval vessels fired “several unguided rockets” about 1,370 meters (1,500 yards) from the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, the USS Bulkeley destroyer and a French frigate, the FS Provence. Raines said commercial sea traffic also was nearby, though the missiles weren’t fired in the direction of any ships.
Raines said the Iranian vessels announced over maritime radio that they’d carry out a live fire exercise only 23 minutes beforehand.