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Iran warns Saudi Arabia over naval war games

Saudi Arabia has ramped up spending on its military amid rising tensions with Iran [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 October, 2016

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A giant naval exercise by Saudi Arabia's armed forces in the Gulf has led to tensions with arch-rival Iran increasing with Tehran warning Riyadh against encroaching into its waters.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have warned Saudi Arabia's naval ships not to trespass into Iranian waters during its military exercises in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia's exercises in the Gulf involve naval vessels, aircraft and marines with live firing war games, a clear message to regional rival Iran about its military capabilities.

Iran has been keeping a close eye on the war games, which come on the back of rising tensions between the two regional powers.

"The naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps believe this military exercise is a clear instance of creating tensions and undermining the stable security of the Persian Gulf," it said in a statement published by Iranian newspapers on Thursday.

"None of the naval vessels participating in this drill are permitted to trespass into Iranian waters and under no circumstances should they approach Iranian territorial waters."

It said any trespassing on Iranian waters would "not be considered a harmless aberration".

Saudi Arabia began live-fire drills in the Gulf on Tuesday, with manoeuvres also taking place in the Sea of Oman and the narrow Strait of Hormuz that links the two - the primary route for oil exports from the region. 

The Guards' naval forces "will take proportionate and immediate action against any kind of movement, attempt or action to disrupt the peace and security of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman", the statement added.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been on opposing sides in the civil wars in Syria and Yemen.

Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz during periods of tension with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies in the past.

In recent months, Washington has repeatedly accused Tehran of dangerous encounters with US naval forces in and around the strategic waterway.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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