Iran Fires Ballistic Missiles From Underground for 1st Time

Iran Fires Ballistic Missiles From Underground for 1st Time”

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps struck mock targets, including a replica of a United States aircraft carrier, on Tuesday night during military drills in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

The drill - and the American response to it - underlined the lingering threat of military conflict between Iran and the US after a series of escalating incidents past year led to an American drone strike killing a top Iranian general in Baghdad.

Iran also could have used missiles buried in hermetically sealed canisters for the launches without the need for a major underground base, said Michael Elleman, a missile expert and the director of the nonproliferation and nuclear policy program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The military exercise has become an important an important drill for Iran's Revolutionary Guards and its naval forces.

On June 26 Brigadier-General Hossein Dehqan (Dehghan), a military advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told Aljazeera that preparing the replica had "no message" but if there was a message it would be "We will strike back if you strike".

The IRGC's Public Relations Department said in a statement on Wednesday that ground, aerial and naval operations were carried out against positions of the hypothetical enemy on the second day of the final phase of the exercises, codenamed Payambar-e A'zam (The Great Prophet) 14.

One of the most recent confrontations was in mid-April when the United States accused the Guards of using speedboats to harass its warships in the Gulf.

The television then cut to rockets being fired out to sea from the backs of trucks, before showing damage to the hull of the mock-up aircraft carrier.

The US Navy mocked Iran after it fired missiles at a replica US aircraft carrier on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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"Our policies are created to protect the vital interests of our beloved nation are defensive, in the sense that we do not envahirons no country in the world from the beginning, but we are totally offensive in our tactics and our operations", has, however, said Tuesday the general Hossein Salami, the leader of the Guardians of the revolution.

The Guard said the military exercise targeted the fake ship and practiced operations using drones and small vessels.

State TV footage also showed scuba forces underwater, followed by a cutaway to a blast hole just above the waterline on the replica carrier.

The last two years had been marked by a series of confrontations, including acts of sabotage on global tankers in the Gulf that Washington blamed on Iran but which Tehran had denied, and the USA killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

Iran's actions come only days after Tehran accused U.S. fighter jets of harassing an Iranian commercial airliner in Syria's skies.

The drill which is to be continued on Wednesday is held amid high tensions between Iran and the United States.

It remains unclear when or if the Nimitz will pass through the Strait of Hormuz. The Eisenhower came through the strait early last week.

Iran can not legally close the waterway, however the ships sailing through the region come under the responsibility of Iran's naval force.

The US Navy has stressed the strait is an worldwide waterway crucial to global shipping and energy supplies.

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