The United States and its allies launched the ‘largest ever’ naval exercise in the region near Hormuz strait.
The Islamic Republic of Iran said it was watching the naval exercise, which will be associated with battleships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers and submarines.
“The exercises are based on a hypothetical threat to mine the international strategic waterways of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf,” the U.S. Central Command said in July.
“We are very sensitive about security in the highly strategic Persian Gulf and we are watching closely,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
Warships from more than 25 countries, including the U.S., Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are taking part in the annual 12-day exercise (from September 16 to 27) to prepare for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, according to British newspaper Daily Telegraph.
The report said the navies will practice tactics regarding how to breach an Iranian blockade of the strait and the force will also undertake counter-mining drills.
The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards warned of retaliation against the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. bases in the Middle East and Israel if his country was to be attacked. General Mohammad Ali Jafari said the Strait of Hormuz would be a legitimate target for Iran should it be attacked.
“This is a declared policy by Iran that if war occurs in the region and the Islamic republic is involved, it is natural that the Strait of Hormuz as well as the energy (market) will face difficulties,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted him as saying.