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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran holds second stage of naval drills in Gulf of Oman

RIA Novosti

03/12/2008 19:01 TEHRAN, December 3 (RIA Novosti) -- Iran has conducted the second stage of a four-stage, six-day naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman, a top military commander said on Wednesday.

Over 60 warships, as well as other military hardware and equipment, are involved in a large-scale naval exercise, code-named Unity-87, that will last through December 7.

"During Stage 2 of the Unity-87 exercise, destroyers, submarines, fighter jets, and unmanned aerial vehicles rehearsed the detection and effective engagement of aggressive forces," Deputy Navy Commander Adm. Qasem Rostamabadi said.

He had previously said the drills would also include "multi-phased operations in the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf."

"The aim of this manoeuver is to increase the level of readiness of Iran's naval forces and also to test and to use domestically-made naval weaponry," said Adm. Rostamabadi, adding that it was also designed to "enhance the country's deterrence capability."

According to national media, the Iranian navy has developed "exclusive" military equipment such as stealth micro submarines and lightweight aircraft in an effort to maintain the sovereignty and integrity of the country's coastal waters.

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 in the event of any attack, including closing off the Strait of Hormuz, through which over 25% of the world's oil passes.

There has been 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 military action against Iran over its refusal to halt its controversial nuclear program. Iran says it needs the program for power generation.


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