Iran’s naval forces started a six- day military exercise around the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for 20 percent of the world’s traded oil, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.The drill, which covers a large area extending to the Sea of Oman and the north of the Indian Ocean, is aimed at “displaying the readiness of armed and naval forces to defend Iran’s waterway and national interests,” Iranian Navy Commander Habibollah Sayari said today according to IRNA. The exercise will involve testing defensive and missile systems, combat vessels and submarines, Sayari said on Dec. 25.
Iran is entangled in a conflict with world powers over its nuclear program, which they say may be intended to develop atomic weapons, a charge the Persian Gulf country rejects. Israel has said that “all options are on the table” to stop Iran from building a weapon, including a military offensive.
Iran regularly announces progress in its domestically built military equipment and routinely holds military exercises to display its readiness in the face of perceived threats by the U.S. and Israel. Iranian military
officials announced in September plans to hold a military exercise in the country’s southern waters before the end of the Iranian calendar year on March 20, 2013.