A US aircraft carrier sailed into the Persian Gulf on Friday amid Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, the only sea passage from the Gulf to the open ocean and strategic waterway linking Middle East crude producers to crucial world markets.
Some 30 Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels fired rockets in the waters patrolled by a US aircraft carrier strike group led by USS John C. Stennis on Friday, AP reported. At one point, one small ship launched what looked like a "commercial-grade" drone to film the US vessels, the media outlet wrote, adding that journalists on the Stennis were also filming the Iranian boats.
Earlier on Friday, Mehr News Agency quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of IRG ground forces, as saying that the final stage of the "Great Prophet 12" drills would kick off on Saturday and include "rapid reaction units, airborne units, demolition and combat units, mid-range missiles and the third marine division".
"We pose no threat to any country but if the enemies seek to implement their malicious intentions and attack us, we will be absolutely aggressive and attack the enemies with all might and we are practising these tactics in these exercises", Mehr News Agency cited Pakpour as saying.
Iran's military leadership, in turn, has repeatedly warned against any provocations, threatening to close off the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf and the only outlet through which all ship traffic passes.