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News number: 8709131608

18:12 | 2008-12-03


نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

Iran Stages War Games in Persian Gulf

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian naval forces started six days of war games in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

"The aim of this maneuver is to increase the level of readiness of Iran's naval forces and also to test and to use domestically-made naval weaponry," Admiral Qasem Rostamabadi said.

The maneuver started yesterday with the deployment of troops in and around the strategic Straight of Hormoz and the troops officially started their drills on Wednesday.

The naval maneuvers would cover an area of 50,000 square miles, including the Sea of Oman off Iran's southern coast.

"In this six-day long maneuver there will be more than 60 combat vessel units," Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, commander of the navy, said.

They would include destroyers, missile-equipped battleships, submarines, special-operations teams, helicopters, and fighter planes, he said.

Iran often stages exercises or tests weapons to show its determination to counter any attack by the United States or Israel against its nuclear sites.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Speculation that Israel could bomb Iran has mounted since a big Israeli air drill in June. In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations.

Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv.

A US attack on the Syrian village of Sukkariyah on October 26, has also raised speculation about the likelihood of a US unilateral strike on the Islamic Republic.

The United States has also always stressed that military action is a main option for the White House to deter Iran's progress in the field of nuclear technology.

Iran has warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

Strait of Hormoz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route.

An Iranian naval commander last week said the country's navy could strike an enemy well beyond its shores and as far away as Bab al-Mandab, the southern entrance to the Red Sea that leads to the Suez Canal.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, has found that a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities "is unlikely" to delay the country's program.