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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran to hold large-scale naval drills in Gulf of Oman

RIA Novosti

01/12/2008 16:44 TEHRAN, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - Iran is to hold on December 2-7 a large-scale naval exercise involving over 60 warships in the Gulf of Oman, Iranian television reported on Monday, citing the navy commander.

"Over 60 combat vessels will take part in the exercise, codenamed Ettehad-87, in the Gulf of Oman," Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said.

The four-stage exercise will involve destroyers, missile boats, submarines, helicopters, fighters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

"The goal of the exercise is to improve the combat readiness of the Iranian navy to counter potential external threats and to test modern weaponry developed by the Iranian defense industry," the admiral said.

Sayyari confirmed last week the delivery of two new domestically-built missile boats, Kalat (Fortress) and Derafsh (Flag), as well as a Ghadir-class light submarine to the Iranian navy.

Iran has launched a domestic weapons procurement campaign aimed at improving its defense capabilities and has announced the development of 109 types of advanced military equipment over the past two years.

Tehran has conducted several high-profile war games this year, while promising to strike back hard against in the event of any attack, including closing off the Strait of Hormuz, through which over 25% of world oil passes.

There has been continued speculation that the United States or Israel might launch air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. Washington and Tel Aviv have consistently refused to rule out the possibility of military action against Iran over its refusal to halt its controversial nuclear program. Iran says it needs the program for peaceful power generation.

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