[QODLink]
Middle East

Iran starts war games in Strait of Hormuz

Tehran begins naval drills in oil and gas shipping route aimed at showcasing its military capabilities.
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2012 13:42
Iran held a 10-day drill last December and sent a submarine and a destroyer into the Gulf four months ago [Reuters]

Iran has started six days of naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz aimed at showcasing its military capabilities in what is a vital oil and gas shipping route,  the official IRNA news agency reported.

The manoeuvres began early on Friday, involving warships, submarines jet fighters and hovercrafts.

Naval commander Habibollah Sayyari said on Friday the "Velayat 91" drills would last until Wednesday across an area of about one million square km in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, IRNA said.

Sayyari said the goal of the manoeuvres were to show "the armed forces' military capabilities" in defending Iran's borders.

Iran's state TV reported that Tehran had warned ships to stay away from the site until January 3.

The drills come as the West increases its pressure over Iran's nuclear programme. The West suspects it may be aimed at producing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

Iranian officials have often said Iran could block the strait - through which 40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil
exports pass - if it came under military attack over its disputed nuclear programme.

Iran held a similar 10-day drill last December and sent a submarine and a destroyer into the Gulf four months ago just as US and allied navies were conducting exercises in the same waters to practice keeping oil shipping lanes open.

Sayyari was quoted as saying on Tuesday that the new drill would test the navy's missile systems, combat ships, submarines and patrol and reconnaissance methods.

A heavy Western naval presence in the Gulf is meant to deter any attempt to block the waterway.

269

Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
join our mailing list