Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has released a video of surveilling and following a US Navy ship in waters off the coast of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
The incident of Iran’s military adventurism, which apparently occurred on August 17, was portrayed as a demonstration of the regime’s military control over the Persian Gulf's strategic waterway. This was showcased during a gathering of prominent IRGC commanders and officials in Tehran on Saturday.
In the video, IRGC Navy speedboats issued a warning to the USS Thomas Hudner warship and two of its helicopters seen flying above the vessel, not to violate Iran's territorial waters. Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri boasted about "the achievement," stating that the IRGC Navy compelled the intruding vessel to obey orders from the Iranian speedboats.
He elaborated that the IRGC deployed vessels from the Zolfaqar flotilla to the location where helicopters were approaching Iran’s territorial waters. In coordination with the speedboats, they pressured the choppers to land shortly after taking off from the vessel's flying deck.
The only thing clear in the video is that the IRGC navy issues its warning and the US warship replies that it is in international waters. A helicopter is seen landing on the deck but it is not clear if it took the actions because of an Iranian warning.
"Iran and other neighboring Persian Gulf countries can ensure regional security and they have no need to the presence of outsiders," he said, referring to more than 3,000 US sailors and marines that have arrived in the region along with the USS Bataan (LHD 50), an amphibious assault ship, and the USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), a dock landing ship.
The forces from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) have been deployed in response to escalating tensions with Iran and as a show of maritime strength. In June, the Pentagon had already sent additional F-35 and F-16 fighter jets along with a warship to the Middle East in a bid to monitor key waterways in the region following Iran's seizure and harassment of commercial vessels.
The IRGC held drills around three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf contested by the United Arab Emirates and claimed that it has added a 600-kilometer-range new missile to its arsenal “for defending the islands’ territory.”
Elsewhere in the Saturday event, Tangsiri said the IRGC Navy’s is especially vigilant in the face of threats from the warships of extra-regional countries.
Recent developments in the region, including Iran's seizure and harassment of vessels has seen tensions rising. Iran unveiled new maritime weaponry earlier this month and Washington offered commercial ships onboard armed protection through the Strait of Hormuz, which sees roughly one fifth of the world's crude oil travel out of the Persian Gulf. The US Navy's assertive posture also aligns with its efforts to reassure regional allies and maintain security in a volatile geopolitical landscape.
The deployment falls within the context of the US 5th Fleet's extensive area of operations, spanning approximately 2.5 million square miles and encompassing vital waterways like the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and critical choke points such as the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal, and Strait of Bab el-Mandeb.
Additionally, the Biden administration's efforts to address Iranian drone supplies to Russia have led to mounting pressure. The Defense Intelligence Agency's presentation of evidence demonstrating the Iranian origin of drones shot down over Ukraine highlights the administration's commitment to countering destabilizing activities.