US Marine observes Iran fast attack craft in Strait of Hormuz
US Marine observes Iran fast attack craft in Strait of HormuzReuters

Iran's army will start large-scale drills in the country's southern waters on Thursday, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Army Habibollah Sayyari announced on Wednesday, according to Xinhua.

Naval forces as well as air defense, air forces, and ground forces of the army will contribute to the three-day exercise, Sayyari was quoted as saying.

Indigenous submarines, military vessels, aircraft and drones will participate in the wargame to boost the readiness and military capability in naval, aerial, ground, and air defense fields, he added.

Long-range drones will also carry out patrol and reconnaissance operations and engage in combat against hostile vessels by dropping smart bombs with pinpoint accuracy, he continued.

The drill seeks to enhance the security of regional waters and international shipping routes in West Asia and prepare to repel trans-regional threats, he added.

The drills, codenamed Zolfaqar-99, will be held in an area of 2 million square km on the eastern part of the Strait of Hormuz, Makran coasts, Sea of Oman, and north of the Indian Ocean, he said.

Iran regularly holds military drills in the Strait of Hormuz, most recently in July, when it launched missiles targeting a mock aircraft carrier in the area.

The Islamic Republic 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.