An Iranian plane took close-up video and photographs of a US aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, and the material was published by an Iranian government-affiliated news agency.
The clip shows an operation by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and was said to be filmed from a Harbin Y-2 plane. Accompanied by menacing music, the published video also shows the American vessel’s crew looking in the direction of the camera.
A report by the Iranian Tasnim news agency said that Iran has been carrying out reconnaissance work in the Persian Gulf for a while.
“The latest IRGC operation is a mission to identify an American aircraft carrier passing through the region, carried out by a navy reconnaissance plane called the Harbin Y-2,” it said.
“For some time, the IRGC has had modern drone technology, and it is carrying out missions to identify foreign vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” added the report, which was published in Persian on Saturday and translated Thursday by the Middle East Research Institute, a Washington-based watchdog.
“The most well-known example of this is an IRGC drone’s reconnaissance mission to identify an American aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz; images from this were broadcast live to an IRGC commanders’ conference in Mashhad province,” Tasnim said.
The report stated that IRGC drones had performed similar reconnaissance missions “many times,” and claimed that that during most operations, the American crew did not notice the reconnaissance.
A number of times, however, the crew sent a helicopter or fighter jet toward the drone in order the chase it away, Tasnim said.
Iran has previously targeted vessels in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. In May it fired at a Singapore-flagged commercial tanker, and it captured, and later released, a cargo vessel affiliated with Denmark’s Maersk group.
The capture of the Maersk ship caused concern for the security of shipping lanes in the strategic strait and prompted the United States to send vessels to monitor the situation.
In a sign of reduced tensions, the Pentagon later said that the US Navy had halted a mission to accompany American-flagged vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran in July signed a comprehensive agreement with the US and other world powers that curbs its controversial nuclear program in exchange for broad sanctions relief.
AP contributed to this report.