By Lisa Barrington
DUBAI, June 15 (Reuters) – Iran tested a suicide drone against a practice vessel in the Persian Gulf and fired one other missile or drone without warning ships in the area, a U.S. official in the region said.
The one-way drone was launched on Wednesday from the Jask area of Iran 8-9 miles out to sea – within Iran‘s territorial waters – against a practice barge, the official said, citing U.S. intelligence data.
“Essentially practicing hitting merchant vessels. That’s the only reason why you would do that in the Gulf of Oman,” the official said.
The United States has accused Iran of being behind a number of attacks since 2019 against merchant vessels in strategic Persian Gulf waters, which contain some of the world’s most important oil and shipping routes.
Iranian officials were not available to comment.
Iran periodically tests explosive or suicide drones and broadcasts footage of them being tested.
“The closest merchant vessel was about 30 miles out away from the barge, but it was still dangerous,” the official said.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Angus MacSwan)