Iran’s Revolutionary Guards staged a large-scale military exercise in the Persian Gulf this week, official state media reported.
During its “Great Prophet 9” war games on Wednesday, the IRGC launched hundreds of rockets targeting a mock U.S. aircraft carrier.
Iran’s Fars News agency reported that the mock ship was destroyed by cruise and ballistic missiles.
Military expert Houshang Hassan-Yari, told VOA (Persian) the war games aim to convey a clear message while nuclear negotiations are underway between Iran and the P5+1.
“What the IRGC has done is to demonstrate its clear hostility to the United States,” he said.
The drill was the first to involve a replica of a U.S. carrier.
Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, the spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said they were monitoring the drills, but downplayed the simulated attack on the carrier, saying the U.S. military was "not concerned about this exercise."
Hassan-Yari added that the message of the war games - attended by Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani - was clear.
“With these exercises, Larijani wanted to show that Iran has a highly developed military capability and this will further bolster its political stance vis-à-vis the nuclear talks,” he said.
“Larijani’s remarks indicate that the war games are linked to the nuclear talks and that the government regards these maneuvers as some kind of leverage.”
As far as destroying a mock U.S. aircraft carrier, he said that other countries deploy dilapidated ships in similar war games.
Iran’s long-range missiles have caused alarm in both Israel and the United States.
“The message of these maneuvers is deterrence, so that outsiders will take care not to act against the Islamic Republic’s security,” said the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Mohammad Ali Ja’fari.
“We consider ourselves the guardians of security in the Strait of Hormuz and have shown this to the world in this war game [that started] today,” the top commander added, according to Iran's Press TV.
Computers are normally used to simulate these kinds of military maneuvers, but Iran is one of very few countries that use mock ships.
Two months ago, Iran conducted another series of war games in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.