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Iran: No Rockets Fired Near US Ships

In the past, Iran has threatened to block the strait, which lies at the entrance of the Arabian Gulf.

USA officials have said the Treasury Department retains a right under the nuclear agreement to blacklist Iranian entities suspected of involvement in missile development.

News, citing unnamed United States military officials, said the Guards were conducting a live-fire exercise and the USA aircraft-carrier Harry S. Truman came within about 1,500 yards (meters) of a rocket as it entered the Gulf with other warships.

Though the rockets were not fired toward any warship their proximity to the foreign vessels – and several commercial ships – was “highly provocative”, said the official, who was not authorised to be named.

NBC News, citing unnamed USA military officials, said the Guards were conducting a live-fire exercise.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has since told his defense minister to quicken the pace on Iran’s ballistic-missile program, following the announcement of new sanctions against Iranian individuals.

The Guards naval unit is responsible for securing Iranian interests in the Strait, a vital waterway for a large proportion of the world’s oil, regularly patrolling the area and conducting exercises. Ships traversing the chokepoint have even less room to manoeuvre. The shipping lane in either direction is only 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) wide, with a 2-mile (3.22-kilometer) buffer zone between them.

Iran sank a replica of a US aircraft carrier in February near the strait and it earlier tested out so-called “suicide drones” it said could crash into naval vessels. “We need to ensure that USA forces are postured to respond to Iranian aggression and finally adopt a comprehensive strategy to counter Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East”. That came after the near-sinking of the missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts by an Iranian mine. Most famously and tragically, in 1988, the USS Vincennes thought it was under attack and ended up firing on an airliner heading to Dubai, killing all 290 people onboard.

Shariff dismissed the U.S. claims that it fired “unguided rockets” near its vessels on Saturday as “psychological warfare” against Iran. Tehran rejected the United States report, calling it “psychological warfare”.

Navy Seahawk helicopters from the Harry S. Truman kept a close eye on the Iranian vessels during the event, he said. Taraghi has long expressed the view that the nuclear deal did not signal a transformation of the long-strained relations between the United States and Iran.

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