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Iran naval drills underway amid tensions with US

Iran naval drills underway amid tensions with US

"They saw the global community put - dozens of nations of the worldwide community put their naval forces in for exercises to clear the straits", said US Defense Secretary James Mattis last week.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) is expected to soon begin a major naval exercise in the Persian Gulf that could demonstrate its ability to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial conduit for global energy supplies, USA officials have said.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Rear Admiral Khanzadi described the Strait of Hormuz as a part of Iran's national interests, saying that the USA sanctions will definitely affect the functioning of the strategic oil lifeline.

Perhaps because it hasn't figured out its name: "Persian Gulf, as it's been called for 2,000 yrs longer than USA has existed", Zarif said on his Twitter account on Friday.

The swarm tactics are usually conducted by Iran during the fall season, however, due to the heightened tensions between the two countries as a result of the exchange of threats between US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the drills have been moved up the schedule.

"Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz", Mattis said.

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On Tuesday, a top Iranian naval commander said the Strait of Hormuz would be affected by the U.S. decision to withdraw from the landmark nuclear deal.

At present, the IRGC has assembled over a hundred boats, many of them fast-moving vessels, near the strait, CNN noted. "We also continue to advocate for all maritime forces to conform to worldwide maritime customs, standards and laws", said a trio of tweets attributed to CENTCOM spokesperson Navy Captain Bill Urban. CNN reported that it is expected that Iranian air and ground forces, including defensive missile batteries, could be involved in the drill.

The war of words between Iran and the U.S. has gotten very nasty in recent weeks, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying on July 22 that "America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars". They've done that previously in years past.

This is likely in response to America's expansion of its sanctions against Iran scheduled to come into force on August 6.

But Iran did not appear interested in drawing attention to them.

But one week later, during a joint press conference with the Italian Prime Minister, Trump said he was willing to meet with Iranian leaders with no preconditions.

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