Iranian state media on Wednesday published a photo set showing the US carrier group led by USS Nimitz transiting the Strait of Hormuz which Tehran says was gained after domestic-build spy drones "intercepted" the carrier.
State-run Tasnim reports: "In remarks on Wednesday, IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri said the homegrown drone has detected the US carrier strike group before the flotilla cruised through the Strait of Hormuz and into the waters of the Persian Gulf."
The Nimitz along with battleship escorts sailed through the area last Friday, according to separate reports.
Tunsgiri made the remarks upon the occasion of a military ceremony marking the IRGC's naval force receiving nearly 200 domestic produced drones and helicopters.
The IRGC Rear admiral described, “Monitoring and tracking all maritime movements in the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman will be made possible by these drones that will greatly increase our capabilities in this area.”
The US sail through appears to have occurred without incident despite the Iranian drone mission.
The drone photo set had already been circulating among Middle East analysts and think tanks in the West, which confirmed their authenticity.
Iranian media and officials are now hailing the domestic-produced drone spy mission as a success, and no doubt the reason the photo set has been released alongside English-language state media headlines is to display the IRGC's advancing capabilities in "securing" Hormuz.
Iran Releases Images of USS Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier & Escorting Battleships, Monitored & Chased by IRGC Drones at Entrance to Persian Gulf pic.twitter.com/dJUQs2Ct3z— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) September 23, 2020
The Associated Press also confirmed the US carrier is in the Persian Gulf :
The Nimitz, and several other warships, passed last Friday through the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important chokepoint for oil shipments, the U.S. Navy had said in what was described as a “scheduled manoeuvr.”
The US Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, however, has yet to comment on the Iranian drone monitoring mission or whether it observed the drone's flight path last week.
Should Iran continue with such provocative drone missions so near US ships in the vital gulf waterway, it's only a matter of time before there's escalation based on an incident, likely in the form of the US blasting Iran's UAVs out of the sky.