As Iran's military conducted military drills in the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for provoking a war between Israel and Syria, and said Israel has no intention of attacking its neighbors.
Iran's "Velayat 89" maneuvers began May 5, and will take place for eight days in Iranian territorial waters, according to Iranian state TV. The exercises were announced May 4, just a day after diplomats from several significant western countries walked out on a speech given by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations.
This is Iran's fifth year of holding annual war games in the Persian Gulf, which are intended both to train Iranian soldiers and to intimidate its potential enemies. It is Iran's second large-scale military exercise this year.
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow and highly strategic waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Iran has previously threatened that if attacked, it would shut down the strait, halting oil traffic. Approximately 20% of the world's oil travels through the small passage.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told press that Israel's goals are stability and peace. "Israel seeks peace and has no intention of attacking its neighbors, regardless of false rumors," Prime Minister Netanyahu said, during a visit to a Northern Command training facility. Prime Minister Netanyahu was referring to Iranian claims that Israel planned to attack Syria.
Israel is “ready to enter peace talks with Syria without preconditions, just like we are doing now with the Palestinians," said Prime Minister Netanyahu. "The path to peace is through negotiations," he added.
On Wednesday, Iran fired mid-range land-to-sea cruise missiles. Iran's navy also forced a US surveillance plane trying to observe the maneuvers to leave, according to Iran's Fars news agency.
In April, Iran's Revolutionary Guard held five days of exercises in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.