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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran navy, air force and army begin war games near tense Strait of Hormuz

A spate of incidents in the Straight of Hormuz last year heightened tensions [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 September, 2020

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Iran is conducting an annual military drill in the strategic Strait of Hormuz aimed at 'improving readiness in confronting any possible invasion'.
Iran's military began an annual three-day naval exercise near the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, state TV reported.

The report said units from the navy, air force and army participated in the maneuver in the Gulf of Oman. Iranian submarines and drones would be used during the exercise, it said.

Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of the annual maneuver dubbed as Zolfaghar-99, said Wednesday that the war games was aimed at "improving readiness in confronting foreign threats and any possible invasion".

The Iranian navy handles all operations in the Gulf of Oman on the eastern side of the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world's traded oil passes.

Iran and its arch enemy the United States have traded barbs in the past year over a spate of incidents in the sensitive waters of the Gulf.

In August, the Iranian navy boarded and briefly detained a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz.

In July, Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards fired a missile from a helicopter targeting a replica aircraft carrier in the strait, amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Read more: Why the UAE seeks stronger ties with Iran

The escalation of Iran-US tensions last year saw ships mysteriously attacked, drones downed, and oil tankers seized in the strait.

In July 2019, Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the waterway for allegedly ramming a fishing boat and released it two months later.

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