U.S. officials confirmed a number of Iranian military vessels unguided rockets near a U.S. carrier traveling through international waters on Dec. 26th as the USS Harry S. Truman passed through the Strait of Hormuz.
The actions were called “unsafe” and “certainly unnecessarily provocative” by the official.
The incident occurred when the vessels approached within 1,500 yards of the carrier and proceeded to fire the rockets in the opposite direction of the ship.
The Strait of Hormuz is “an internationally recognized maritime traffic lane,” the official said.
Officials said around 10:36 a.m. local time, Iranian navy vessels approached the Truman and it’s battle group.
“They were observed quickly approaching their location as they transited the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf,” said the official.
Iran warned of a “previously unannounced live-fire exercise over maritime radio and requested for nearby vessels to remain clear,” at 10:45 a.m.
Forty minutes after the initial warning, a second warning was given at which time the ships began launching their rockets.
The official said that the number of rockets launched is unclear, and added that the rockets were directed away from the battle group and other commercial ships in the area. Following the launch, the Iranian ships departed the area.
The U.S. has had a several month gap without a carrier in the Persian Gulf following the exit of the USS Theodore Roosevelt in October. This differs from decades of operational history in which the U.S. has maintained a carrier presence in the Gulf, at times fielding two battle groups in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Shortly after the exit of the Theodore Roosevelt in early October, a ballistic missile test was conducted by the Iranians.
On Tuesday, the Truman conducted its first operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since arriving on station. The U.S. carrier is joined by France’s aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle which is also conducting missions against ISIS.