The US Navy nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine USS Georgia transited the Strait of Hormuz Monday accompanied by two additional American warships, the Navy said Monday in a rare public announcement of a nuclear submarine’s movements.
“The nuclear-power Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729), along with the guided-missile cruisers USS Port Royal (CG 73) and USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), transited the Strait of Hormuz entering the Arabian Gulf, Dec. 21,” the Navy said in a statement using an alternative name for the Persian Gulf.
The vessels’ entrance into the area comes amid heightened tensions with Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blaming Iranian backed militias for a rocket attack on the US Embassy compound in Baghdad, on Sunday.
Some US officials have expressed concern that Iran may use the anniversary of the killing of General Qasem Solemani to carry out a strike on the US.
The US Navy rarely discusses the movement of its submarines, but Monday’s announcement also included details on the vessel’s capabilities, including its “ability to carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles.”
Eight rockets were fired into Baghdad’s International Zone on Sunday, causing damage to buildings and cars in a residential area near the US Embassy. The US Embassy compound suffered slight damage, but no embassy personnel were injured. The Iraqi military said one Iraqi soldier was injured when a rocket landed near a security checkpoint.
“The United States strongly condemns the latest attack by Iran-backed militias on the International Zone in Baghdad,” Pompeo said in a Sunday statement. “We wish those hurt a speedy recovery.”
Iranian Foreign Minister spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, strongly condemned Pompeo’s statement, saying Iran’s embassy is also located in the International Zone.
“Iranian embassy is in the same area, attacking any diplomatic missions and residential areas is wrong and banned by international law,” Khatibzadeh said during a virtual press conference held in the Iranian capital Tehran on Monday and attended by local and international media representatives.
“The statement issued by American Secretary of State is suspicious. We strongly condemn the statement issued by the American Secretary of State,” Khatibzadeh added when answering a question by local Iranian media reporter.