For an exercise, the Revolutionary Guards carried out a show of force in the Persian Gulf, the scene of recurring tensions with the United States. Washington briefly put its bases on alert and denounced “irresponsible” behavior.
Land, sea, air, and even space; the Islamic Republic released its entire armada during an imposing military exercise organized on Tuesday in the Strait of Hormuz. A show of strength, at least as much as training, while tensions with the United States remain very high, especially in the strategic region of the Persian Gulf.
For the occasion, the Revolutionary Guards, the parallel army which answers only to the Supreme Leader, deployed the model of an American aircraft carrier, a sort of a floating barge comprising fake planes on its (false) flight deck.
Iran is not the only country using imitation for its military exercises, like China which has made an imitation aircraft carrier to test the accuracy of new missiles, but the message Tehran sent is most explicit: the United States is not welcome in these waters, and the Revolutionary Guards, also called Pasdaran, are preparing for a possible clash at sea.
One of the many videos of the exercise dubbed “Prophet Mohammed 14”, shows a drone firing an anti-ship missile at the model then a cloud of smoke rising from the aircraft carrier. In other images the false building appears surrounded by a swarm of speedboats, taking up a mode of action that the Pasdaran are fond of near their territorial waters.
The model had already been used in 2015, during the exercise. Severely damaged, it had remained in this state until the beginning of this year, when work enabled it to be restored, suggesting a new demonstration in the short or medium term.
On Tuesday, the Revolutionary Guards also fired a wide variety of missiles from all kinds of launchers on land, at sea and in the air, according to official images. For the first time, said aerospace branch chief Amirali Hajizadeh, ballistic missiles were fired from underground shelters. Another novelty, still according to the Pasdaran: the exercise was followed from outer space thanks to the Nour observation satellite, launched on April 22.
This military turmoil has not escaped the notice of the United States, which maintains a strong presence in Gulf waters and on the opposite shore, with bases in Qatar and Bahrain, and forces stationed in the United Arab Emirates. Two of these rights-of-way briefly raised their alert level as several missiles sent fell back into the southern Gulf.
The US Navy denounced “irresponsible” behavior on the part of Iran, qualified as an attempt “of intimidation” while underlining the risks for maritime transport in a very frequented zone: a third of the crude transported by the sea and a quarter of the liquefied natural gas trade passed through this strait in 2018. In May, during a previous exercise, the Iranian navy accidentally fired at one of its ships, killing nineteen crew members.