Iran starts Gulf war games, to test submarine-launched missiles

Iran debuts its new Fateh submarine in the Persian Gulf February 2019

Iran debuts its new Fateh submarine in the Persian Gulf February 2019

Iran on Friday began large-scale naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf, which will feature its first submarine cruise missile launches, state media reported, at a time of rising tensions with the United States.

"Iran has plans in place that will neutralize the illegal USA sanctions against Iran's oil exports", Shamkhani said. The maneuvers were set to involve hundreds of equipment, including surface ships, submarines, hovercraft, planes and helicopters, but most notably, the brand new Fateh cruise missile submarine and Moudge-class destroyer Sahand. Israel, increasingly concerned that its enemy Iran may establish a long-term military presence in neighbouring Syria, says it has carried out over 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria in the last two years.

The exercise will be 1.25 miles from the Strait of Hormuz, and extend into the Indian Ocean, according to the local Mehr news agency.

The objective was "to protect the territorial waters of our country, maintain lines of communication and promote the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran", according to the Iranian navy's official media.

Iranian naval forces on Friday. started a massive three-day drill, codenamed "Velayat 97", in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean, with home-grown, recently unveiled "Fateh" submarine and "Sahand" destroyer taking part in the exercise.

Iran said on Saturday it had many options to neutralize the reimposition of US sanctions on its oil exports, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, adding that Tehran's clerical rulers had no plans to hold talks with Washington.

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Iran launched its domestically made destroyer Sahand in December, which official say has radar-evading stealth properties.

The country has also displayed a new cruise surface-to-surface missile with a range of 800 miles earlier this month during celebrations marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Iran to further curb its nuclear and missile programs as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

While the exercise may be alarming to some, the actions are not unusual, according to military experts.

He said: "There is nothing exceptional about this annual event".

"This should not be interpreted as a threat to regional security".

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