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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran's military starts 8-day Gulf drills

RIA Novosti

19:130 5/05/2010 MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's armed forces launched a series of large-scale exercises in the country's territorial waters on Wednesday, the Fars news agency reported.

The expanded naval drills, codenamed Velayat 89, started in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman and are slated to last eight days and cover some 250,000 square kilometers of Iranian territorial waters.

They will involve attack, support, logistic and electronic warfare (EW) units in interaction with warplanes as well as air-defense and missile forces.

Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the exercise would display Iran's "defensive and deterrent power," and send a message of "peace and friendship" to regional states.

Last month, Iran's Revolutionary Guards conducted a wide-ranging naval exercise in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, codenamed Great Prophet 5.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), said April's three-day drills were designed to "ensure security in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman."

Iranian military officials have repeatedly warned that if Tehran is attacked, it will retaliate by blocking the Strait of Hormuz. Nearly 40% of the world's seaborne oil shipments pass through the strategically important waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

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