This weekend Iran test-fired ballistic missiles and sent fast-attack vessels close to a U.S. Navy ship in the Strait of Hormuz, in a continuation of provocations, U.S. officials told Fox News.
One of the tests was successful, the missile destroyed a floating barge approximately 155 miles away, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the launch. The launch of the short-range ballistic missile, the Fateh-110, was the first testsof the missile in two years, an official said.
It’s unclear whether or not this was the first successful test at sea, which raises concerns for the U.S. Navy, who operates warships in the area. On Saturday, one of them had an "unsafe and unprofessional" interaction with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boats. The boats approached within 600 yard of the USNS Invincible and then stopped. The Invincible was accompanied by three ships from the British Royal Navy and all four ships were forced to change course, Reuters reported.
These provocations were obscured by the worldwide focus on North Korea's own ballistic missile tests. “Between North Korea’s saber-rattling and Iran’s willful defiance, we certainly don’t lack for evidence of these rogue regime’s intentions," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a Monday statement. "This is why we need to develop a strong missile-defense system and to take a harder line toward these regimes. No amount of words, however clear or forceful, will prevent this kind of aggression; only firm action to defend America and our allies will stop them in their tracks."
Iran launched its two short-range ballistic missiles from an IRGC base in Bandar-e-Jask, in southeastern Iran, according to one official. The first one was fired on Saturday, but missed its target, landing “in the vicinity.”. A day later, Iran made another attempt and was successful, one official said.
One official said that the Fateh-110 Mod 3 has an “active seeker,” which helps the missile locate ships at sea. "It's a concern based on the range and that one of the missiles worked," he said, but requested anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the launch.
These new missile launches come just a week after Iran successfully test-fired Russian surface-to-air missiles, which are part of the S-300 air defense system Russia sent to Iran.
According to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Iran has conducted as many as 14 ballistic missile launches since the nuclear agreement was signed in July, 2015.
General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month that Iran’s behavior hasn’t changed, even after the White House put the Islamic Republic “on notice” following Iran’s successful intermediate-range ballistic missile test-launch in late January.