TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian surveillance plane has recorded video and photographed a U.S. aircraft carrier during Iran’s ongoing navy drill near a strategic waterway in the Persian Gulf, the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.
The report did not provide details and it was unclear what information the Iranian military could glean from such footage. But the announcement is an indication Iran is seeking to cast its navy as having a powerful role in the region’s waters.
IRNA quoted Iran’s navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, as saying the action shows that Iran has “control over the moves by foreign forces” in the area where Tehran is holding a 10-day military exercise.
“An Iranian vessel and surveillance plane have tracked, filmed and photographed a U.S. aircraft carrier as it was entering the Gulf of Oman from the Persian Gulf,” Sayyari said.
He added that the “foreign fleet will be warned by Iranian forces if it enters the area of the drill.”
State TV showed what appeared to be the reported video, but it was not possible to make out the details of the carrier because the footage was filmed from far away.
The Iranian exercise is taking place in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz — the passageway for one-sixth of the world’s oil supply.
Beyond it lie vast bodies of water, including the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet is also active in the area, as are warships of several other countries that patrol for pirates there.
Thursday’s report follows U.S. warnings over Iranian threats to choke off traffic through the Strait of Hormuz if Washington imposes sanctions targeting Iran’s crude exports.
Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the U.S. 5th Fleet, said the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay headed out from the Gulf and through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, after a visit to Dubai’s Jebel Ali port.