Iran unexpectedly announced yesterday that it would be holding military maneuvres in the Gulf this week, only days after US-led navies held exercises in the same waterway.
Iranian state television quoted the head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, as saying the 10-day maneuvres, named "Great Prophet," would take place in the Gulf and the Sea of Oman, beginning today.
"The war games are aimed at demonstrating the deterrent power of the guards against possible threats," Safavi said.
His announcement came two days after US-led warships finished a two-day maneuvre in the Gulf an exercise that Iran described as "adventurist."
Iran said the six-nation drills would not improve security in the Gulf waters, through which about 20 per cent of the world's oil passes. It also called on Gulf nations to set up their own regional security arrangements.
The US-led maneuvres focused on surveillance, with warships tracking a ship suspected of carrying components of illegal weapons. The nations that took part were Australia, Bahrain, Britain, France, Italy and the United States.
Iran regularly holds large maneuvres, often using them to test weapons developed by its arms industry.
Yesterday, Safavi told state TV: "The guard's air force will test fire the Shahab-3 (missile), equipped with cluster warhead, in the war game."
The Shahab-3 missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and has a range of more than 2,000 kilometres. It can reach Israel and US forces in the Middle East.
Source: China Daily