Iran's Revolutionary Guards says it held war games in Gulf

The drills appeared to be designed to send a message to Washington, says US officials


Reuters August 05, 2018
Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed on Sunday it had held war games in the Gulf over the past several days, saying they were aimed at “confronting possible threats” by enemies, the state news state news agency IRNA reported.

US officials told Reuters on Thursday that the United States believed Iran had started carrying out naval exercises in the Gulf, apparently moving up the timing of annual drills amid heightened tensions with Washington.

Iran conducts naval exercise in Gulf: US official

“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,” Guards spokesperson Ramezan Sharif said, according to IRNA.

The US military’s Central Command on Wednesday confirmed it has seen increased Iranian naval activity. The activity extended to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway for oil shipments the Revolutionary Guards have threatened to block.

Sharif “expressed satisfaction over the successful conduct of the Guards naval exercise, emphasising the need to maintain and enhance defence readiness and the security of the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and to confront threats and potential adventurous acts of enemies,” IRNA said.

One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said possibly more than 100 vessels were involved in the drills, including small boats.

US officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the drills appeared designed to send a message to Washington, which is intensifying its economic and diplomatic pressure on Tehran but so far stopping short of using the US military to more aggressively counter Iran and its proxies.

Iran is seen readying major exercise as tensions with US simmer

Iran has been furious over US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme and re-impose sanctions on Tehran. Senior Iranian officials have warned the country would not easily yield to a renewed US campaign to strangle Iran’s vital oil exports.

But Iran did not appear interested in drawing attention to the drills. Iranian authorities had not commented on them earlier and several officials contacted by Reuters this week had declined to comment.

COMMENTS (1)

dubious | 3 years ago | Reply Revolutionary Guards are controlled by the Imam's not the govt - that's why the govt had little to say about the exercise. Having armies not controlled by the govt is a classic sign of failed govt.
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