Iran fires missiles at simulated US Navy ship In simulation, US bases are put on alert

The aircraft carrier of Iran’s restored mockup, previously used as a simulated US target during an Iranian naval war games exercise from February 2015, is seen in its home port of Bandar Abbas, Iran, February 15 2020.

MAXAR | via Reuters

Iran launched underground ballistic missiles in a US Navy drill in the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday morning, according to state television, after a series of drills that led to two nearby US military bases to put themselves in alert the day before.

“Using new tactics and equipment, the IRGC Air Force demonstrated some of its extensive capabilities in dealing with hypothetical enemy threats,” the Iranian state television network IRIB wrote on its website.

A major achievement of IRGC airspace at this stage of the exercise, the successful launch of ballistic missiles from deep within the ground was completely camouflaged, which could pose serious challenges for enemy intelligence agencies, “the website wrote.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guardsmen have been showcasing their military capabilities in exercises this week, as part of the annual war games being held in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical waterway through which 30% of the world oil. Regional television channels showed a model of the United States aircraft carrier in the Strait, complete with models of planes on its deck, flown by missiles.

Iranian forces have used counterfeit US ships before in their military exercises. In recent months, US forces have accused Iranian fast-attack ships of engaging in “harassment” approaches on US warships. Tehran strongly opposes any US military presence in the Middle East.

Drills on Tuesday took two of the region’s U.S. military bases, Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, to temporarily go on alert, after which U.S. military officials called the exercises of “reckless” and “irresponsible.”

“The incident lasted a few minutes and everything was declared clear after the threat indicator had passed,” the United States Central Command said in a statement quoted by Reuters on Tuesday.

A Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet spokesperson for the US Navy, Commander Rebecca Rebarich, said US forces were “always vigilant of this type of irresponsible and reckless behavior by Iran in the vicinity of the busy international waterways. ” But she added that “this exercise has not disrupted coalition operations in the area nor has it had any impact on the free movement of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and the surrounding waters.”

The protests come amid high tensions between the US and Iran and more than two years after the Donald Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, subsequently imposing severe sanctions on the country. The past two years have been marked by a series of confrontations, including acts of sabotage against international oil tankers in the Gulf that Washington blames Iran, but Tehran denies, and the murder in the United States of Iranian chief commander Qasem Soleimani.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency published a tweet Tuesday night with the graphic of the fake American carrier at sea but shaped like a coffin. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget the murder of Martyr Soleimani and will definitely attack the Americans,” it said.

Trump tweeted in late April: “I have ordered the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy each and every Iranian cannon boat if they harass our ships at sea.”