Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) blasted a replica U.S. aircraft carrier with missiles during a military exercise on Thursday in an apparent threat to the U.S.
Recent satellite imagery showed that Iran moved the mock U.S. warship – a replica of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier – into the Strait of Hormuz in preparation for the practice attacks.
Video from Iran’s state media shows Iranian troops firing missiles from land and sea, as well as shoulder-fired missiles, however, most of the footage was undated. Only footage showing a missile firing from a drone claimed to be from Monday.
The video also showed fast attack boats swarming the mock carrier, and Iranian troops rappelling from helicopter onto the mock carrier’s deck.
The military drill is known as “Great Prophet 14” which focuses on missile defense and sea-based targets.
“Our policies to protect the vital interests of the dear nation of Iran are defensive, in the sense that we will not invade any country from the beginning, but we are completely aggressive in tactics and operations,” said Gen. Hossein Salami, head of the IRGC, according to the IRGC’s official website. “What was shown today at this exercise at the level of aerospace and naval forces was all offensive.”
The firing of missiles prompted the U.S. military to put two bases – Udeid Air Base and Al Dhafra Air Base – on temporarily heightened alert. Both bases are located several hundred miles away from the Strait.
“The incident lasted for a matter of minutes and an all clear was declared after the threat … had passed,” U.S. Army Maj. Beth Riordan, a Central Command spokeswoman, told the Associated Press.
The attack drill is expected to continue Wednesday and involve firing more missiles, including long-range ballistic missiles.
“While we are always watchful of this type of irresponsible and reckless behavior by Iran in the vicinity of busy international waterways, this exercise has not disrupted coalition operations in the area nor had any impacts to the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and surrounding waters,” said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.