A camera-equipped Iran Revolutionary Guards’ spy drone flew over an American aircraft carrier transiting the Strait of Hormuz, Tasnim news agency claimed in a Sunday report on its site.
The unverified report included footage apparently taken from a Guard drone that flew over the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and another U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf. The images show fighter planes parked on the carrier deck.
A video published by the agency shows a light blue coloured drone with the name “Ababil III” written on the wings in Farsi and Latin script.
Tasnim did not say when the footage was shot.
In the Koran, Ababil refers to a type of magical birds that protected Islam’s holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia against an invader king’s elephant army by dropping stones on them.
Lt. Chloe J. Morgan, a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesperson, said in an email that the Eisenhower has not been in the Persian Gulf since 2016. She said the U.S. and its allies are committed to freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.
The strait is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is crucial to global energy supplies. About 18 million barrels of oil pass through every day, accounting for over 30 percent of all oil shipments by sea.
Iran has long claimed to be the sole owner of the contested piece of water, but Tehran and Washington have often clashed over the narrow strait.
In recent years, the U.S. Navy has accused Iranian patrol boats of harassing American warships in the waterway.
In September last year a close maritime encounter between the Iran Revolutionary Guard’s navy and the USS Theodore Roosevelt was captured on video.
In the video, IRG speedboats close the U.S. carrier as sailors tell the Americans over radio communication to “keep well clear.”
Guard patrol boats also warn the Americans to “refrain from the threat or use of force in any manner.” Watch below:
AFP/AP contributed to this report
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: email@example.com