Iranian navy to hold drill in Strait of Hormuz

Iran's navy announces annual three-day drill in strategic Strait of Hormuz amid continuing tensions following reimposition of US sanctions.

Elad Benari,

Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
Thinkstock

Iran's navy said on Thursday it will hold an annual drill in the strategic Strait of Hormuz as pressure mounts on the country months after the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran, The Associated Press reported.

Iranian Adm. Hossein Khanzadi was quoted as having told state TV the three-day maneuvers will start on Friday and extend as far as the Sea of Oman and the fringes of the Indian Ocean.

He said submarines, warships, helicopters and surveillance planes will participate in the drill, dubbed as "Velayat-97." The exercise will include missile launches from the vessels.

Iran regularly holds drills at the Strait of Hormuz, which is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and through which about a third of all oil traded at sea passes.

Iran has threatened more than once to close the Strait of Hormuz, with the United States warning Iran in response that any attempt to close the strait would be viewed as a "red line" -- grounds for US military action.

In the last few years there have been several close encounters between Iranian and American vessels in the area.

Tensions have increased between the US and Iran since President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and later reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Earlier this month, Iranian television aired a computer-generated animation of an American aircraft carrier and four destroyers being sunk by an Iranian Ghadir-class submarine.

Recently, a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards threatened US bases in Afghanistan, the UAE and Qatar, as well as US aircraft carriers in the Gulf. These bases, he said, are within range of Iranian missiles which have a range of 700 km (450 miles).




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