Iran to hold military exercises in Strait of Hormuz
The three day drill will stretch to the Indian Ocean
Iran announced on Thursday it will hold an annual drill in the strategic Strait of Hormuz as pressure mounts on the country months after the US re-imposed sanctions.
The sanctions have put a huge strain on the country's oil sector, vital for Tehran.
The strait is located at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf and is crucial to global energy supplies, with about a third of all oil traded at sea passing through it.
Iranian Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told Iran-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.
Last week, the US marines stationed in Bahrain didn't hesitate to describe Iran's actions in the region as "destabilising," citing its renewed threats about cutting off the strait.
Iran tested short-range anti-ship missile during naval drills last year that Washington believes were aimed at sending a message.
In July, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed President Hassan Rouhani's suggestion that Iran may block Gulf oil exports if its own exports are stopped.
Updated: February 21, 2019 02:51 PM