Iran’s semi-official news agency Tasnim News has published footage that it claims shows “U.S. warships being closely monitored in the Persian Gulf waters, south of Iran.” The published footage, which is not dated, allegedly shows a military drone overflying the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and another warship, with fighter jets and seemingly oblivious crew members seen on deck.
In response, a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesperson said that USS Eisenhower had not been in the Persian Gulf since 2016 and that the U.S. was committed to maintaining free passage in the Strait of Hormuz, the scene of prior confrontations between Iran and the U.S.
On Saturday, General Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) on a visit to the Persian Gulf, said that “I believe we’ll have the resources necessary to deter Iran from taking actions that will be dangerous. We will be able to respond effectively.” Quoted by Sky News Arabia, the general added that “We’re gonna continue to reach out to our partners and friends in the region to ensure that we make common cause against the threat of Iran.”
The Ababil drone used to take the footage was manufactured by the Qods Aviation Industry Company which was established by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The drone has an eight-hour and 155-mile flight capacity, it comes from a range of unmanned aerial drones that have been widely exported and used in conflicts in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.