Iran holds annual naval exercise near Strait of Hormuz

Iran's military launched an annual drill in the Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz waterway, Iranian state TV reported on Thursday. 


The Iranian navy will test-fire cruise missiles and torpedoes. /AFP

The three-day exercise in the eastern side of the strait in the Gulf of Oman aims to improve Tehran's military might to confront "foreign threats and any possible invasion," the commander of the manoeuvre, Admiral Habibollah Sardari, told local TV.

One of the exercise's objectives is to devise "tactical offensive and defensive strategies for safeguarding the country's territorial waters and shipping lanes," the military said on its website.


Smoke rises following a strike on a target during a military exercise in July by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. /AP

Units from the navy and air force and ground forces are participating in a nearly two million-square-kilometer (772,200-square-mile) area of the Gulf of Oman. State TV said Iranian submarines and drones were being deployed.

There have been periodic confrontations between Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and the U.S. military in the Gulf in recent years. Washington has accused the Guards' navy of sending fast-attack boats to harass U.S. warships in the strait.

The spokesman for the drill, Admiral Shahram Irani, told state TV that the U.S. had withdrawn drones from the exercise area after a warning from Iran. 

Tehran holds annual war games in the strait, the conduit for some 30 percent of all crude traded by sea.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington had prevailed since 2018 when the United States withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions. Iran has threatened to block the strait if U.S. sanctions shut down its crude exports.

(With inputs from agencies)