TEHRAN, Iran — In a show of force, Iran’s air force is carrying out a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea, the country’s official IRNA news agency said Friday.
The drill involves the military’s and Revolutionary Guard’s fighter jets, including US-made F-4, French Mirage and Russian Sukhoi-22 planes, the report said, adding that five logistics and combat helicopters are also taking part in the exercise over the Persian Gulf waters and the Sea of Oman.
IRNA said the maneuver is a warning to Iran’s enemies that they face a “stern response” if they threaten Iran.
The exercise is part of annual demonstrations on the anniversary of the start of the eight-year Iran-Iraq War that began in 1980.
But it also comes after Tehran’s recent threat to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the country was blocked from exporting its crude because of US pressure and renewed sanctions.
Tehran feels increasingly under pressure after US President Donald Trump pulled America out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May.
Crushing US oil sanctions on Iran will resume in early November and American allies in Asia are already cutting back on their purchases of Iranian crude.
In July, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that if renewed sanctions threatened Iran’s crude oil exports, the rest of the Mideast’s exports would be threatened as well.