Just days after ending its military drill, Iran launched naval drills Sunday at the Gulf and the Indian Ocean junction, a naval commander told Reuters. The event comes amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran as President Donald Trump vowed to get tough with Tehran.
Iran's annual exercises, which will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, are aimed at training the navy in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said, according to state media IRNA. The drills will include navy ships, submarines and helicopters, as they would showcase their skills along Iran's southeastern coast. The area of the drills covers over 770,000 square miles.
Last month, Iran conducted a ballistic missile test sparking concern and resulting in Trump warning Tehran it had been “put on notice.” The U.S. also has been considering fresh sanctions on the country, while Trump blamed former President Barack Obama's administration of being too easy on Iran.
Also last month, a U.S. Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels, which belonged to the country's Revolutionary Guards, near the Strait of Hormuz, for closing in at high speed. These vessels will not be participating in the current war games, Reuters reported.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that imposing sanctions will not get any results.
“We don’t respond well to coercion. We don’t respond well to sanctions, but we respond very well to mutual respect. We respond very well to arrangements to reach mutually acceptable scenarios,” Zarif said.
Tehran has agreed to limit its nuclear development program in exchange for a multilateral nuclear treaty signed by Iran, the U.S. and several other nations that freed billions of dollars of Iranian assets previously frozen by Washington.
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