IRGC Denies Firing Rockets Near US Warships

IRGC Denies Firing Rockets Near US WarshipsIRGC Denies Firing Rockets Near US Warships

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps on Thursday dismissed claims by US officials that its forces fired rockets near a US aircraft carrier and other warships in the Persian Gulf a week ago.

"IRGC naval forces have not had any exercises in the Strait of Hormuz to launch missiles and rockets during the past week and the period claimed by the Americans," the IRGC website quoted spokesperson Ramezan Sharif as saying.

"The publication of such false news under the present circumstances is part of the US psychological warfare."

NBC News, citing unnamed US military officials, said the IRGC was conducting a live-fire exercise and the US aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman came within about 1,500 meters of a rocket as it entered the Persian Gulf with other warships. In Washington, Commander Kyle Raines said the action was "highly provocative, unsafe and unprofessional."

Several IRGC vessels launched the rockets "in close proximity" of the warships and nearby merchant traffic "after providing only 23 minutes of advance notification," claimed Raines, spokesman for the US Central Command. Iranian and US forces have clashed in the Persian Gulf in the past, especially during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.