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U.S. accuses Iran of conducting rocket test near warships

December 29, 2015 (Photo Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. M. Tolbert/Navy)

The Iranians fired rockets close to the carrier Harry S. Truman while it was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, a U.S. Central Command official confirmed to Military Times.

NBC News first reported that one rocket came about 1,500 yards from the Truman after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards held a live-fire exercise while the ships were going through the strait.

The Iranians only gave 23 minutes of advance notification before launching the rockets, Navy Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a CENTCOM spokesman, told Military Times.

Raines said in a statement that Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval vessels fired "several unguided rockets" about 1,370 meters from the Truman, the destroyer Bulkeley and a French frigate, the FS Provence. Raines said commercial sea traffic also was nearby, though the missiles weren't fired in the direction of any ships.

“These actions were highly provocative, unsafe, and unprofessional and call into question Iran's commitment to the security of a waterway vital to international commerce,” Raines said in an email. “While most interactions between Iranian forces and the U.S. Navy are professional, safe, and routine, this event was not and runs contrary to efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime safety in the global commons.”

While Raines did not have any indications that the Iranians targeted a specific ship, he called their actions "highly unsafe and unprofessional."

A French military official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to publicly, named, confirmed the rocket fire took place Saturday. However, the official said the French military did not consider it to be a threatening event as the rocket fire clearly wasn't directed toward the Western fleet.

Iranian media and officials did not immediately discuss the tests Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Truman joined French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in launching airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Saturday's rocket fire comes after Iran and world powers led by the U.S. agreed to a landmark nuclear deal to limit the Islamic Republic's enrichment of uranium in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. While heralded by moderates in Iran, hard-liners have criticized the deal.

In the time since, Iran has conducted missile tests criticized by the U.S., as well as aired footage on state television of an underground missile base. Iran also sank a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier in February near the strait. It seized a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship and later released it in May.

Air Force Times' Jeff Schogol and Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell and Angela Charlton contributed to this report.

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