The Iranian navy is to begin a week of maneuvers by the end of December that will include the testing of new weapons, combat simulations and electronic warfare, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.
Iranian Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari was quoted as saying that the war games, dubbed Veleyat-91, would also involve Iranian-produced drones, submarines, two new hovercraft and destroyers.
According to the regime-sanctioned Press TV, the Iranian navy has been increasing its presence in international waters to defend naval routes and provide security for Iranian tankers and merchant ships.
“War games are aimed at enhancing preparedness and testing new weapons and exercising modern tactics. Since Iran is the most important security provider in the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran embarks on conducting these war games in a bid to boost preparedness to better ensure security,” Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.
Revolutionary Guards Admiral Ali Fadavi stressed the “high capability” of the Iranian navy, and said “Americans do not know the power” or Tehran’s maritime force.
Iran has faced increased international sanctions over the last few years as the US and its allies try to force the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear program.
Israel has indicated a readiness to resort to the use of force and the US has not removed the possibility of military action against Iran in order to stop or deter its alleged drive to a nuclear weapon.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz as a retaliatory action if attacked, in order to hurt the global economy. The US military has said that it is is prepared to ensure that the strait remains open to traffic and is ready to face any challenge in the area.
One-fifth of the world’s oil transports pass through the Strait of Hormuz.
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.