Date of publication: 6 August, 2018
Iranian troops participated in war games in the tense Gulf waterways this weekend, the Revolutionary Guard said on Sunday, just a day before the US is due to slap tough new sanctions on Tehran.
Military drills have been held over the past few days by crack Revolutionary Guard soldiers, with the elite unit saying they were necessary for “confronting possible threats”, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.
“This exercise was conducted with the aim of controlling and safeguarding the safety of the international waterway and within the framework of the programme of the Guards’ annual military exercises,” Reuters reported Revolutionary Guard spokesman Ramezan Sharif saying.
“[We have] expressed satisfaction over the successful conduct of the Guards naval exercise, emphasising the need to maintain and enhance defense readiness and the security of the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuzand to confront threats and potential adventurous acts of enemies,” Revolutionary Guard commander Mohammed Ali Jafari said, according to the news agency.
Washington has accused Iran of moving its annual military exercises forward to coincide with the new US sanctions – set to start on Sunday – in a forceful message to Washington.
US Central Command reported an increase in Iranian naval activity in the delicate Straits of Hormuz region over the past week, including the use of small speed boats that have been regularly used to “buzz” Washington’s navy ships.
The Revolutionary Guard has threatened to block the straits, where much of the world’s oil sails through.
The US has threatened to cut Iran’s oil exports “to zero”, while Iran responded by saying it could also halt shipping in the straits if this happens.
Such a scenario would likely lead to an outbreak in hostilities between Iran and the US, along with its Gulf partners.
The Staits of Hormuz have been a regular flashpoint between the US and Iranian navies.( The New Arab )