London- Iranian Naval Commander Admiral Habiballah Siari has announced that navy maneuvers began in a two million square kilometer area that stretches from the Strait of Hormuz to the north of the Indian Ocean near Bab-el-Mandeb.
Siari stated that some segments of the Iranian Navy will take part in the concluding phase of maneuvers code-named ‘Velayat 95’ – similar drills code-named ‘Velayat 94’ were conducted in 2016.
“These maneuvers will show the Iranian Navy power in the international seas,” he said, denying that they are a threat to other countries.
Iranian maneuvers coincide with tension between Washington and Tehran that erupted last month after the ballistic missile test in Iran. Trump’s administration issued an official warning to Tehran, considering it the biggest state sponsor of terrorism.
US Navy’s Fifth Fleet refused to comment on the Iranian maneuvers, knowing that the fleet protects sea lanes from the Gulf to the Strait of Hormuz.
During the past years, Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz and prevent the entry of oil tankers to the region became a source of concern for the international community, but Iran says that its military forces’ alertness in that region falls under the framework of protecting Iranian ships from piracy.
Iran is facing accusations of transferring arms to conflict zones in the region, especially to the Houthis in Yemen. Yet Siari said: “The maneuvers contribute to the region’s security and confronts maritime terrorism.”
During his electoral campaign, Trump warned of targeting the Iranian Navy in case it approached US ships.
Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Army Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan pointed to recent war games staged by the Iranian Army and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and said the main objective behind them is to create preparedness and prevent sudden attacks.
“In case of any foreign aggression, the aggressor will definitely regret its action,” Pourdastan added.