Iran launched naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean on Sunday, a naval commander said, as tensions with the United States escalated after US President Donald Trump put Tehran “on notice”.
Since taking office last month, Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan 29 that it was playing with fire and all US options were on the table.
Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, according to state media.
Millions of barrels of oil are transported daily to Europe, the United States and Asia through the Bab el Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways that run along the coasts of Yemen and Iran. Navy ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometres and marines will showcase their skills along Iran’s southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said.
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the region and protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters.—Reuters