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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Stages Naval Drills in Persian Gulf

RIA Novosti

04:37 26/12/2012

MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have launched a series of naval exercises in the Persian Gulf, the semi-official Fars news agency said.

The four-day drills, dubbed Fajr 91 (Dawn 91), are taking place in the area of the South Pars gas field - the world's largest gas field shared by Iran and Qatar.

"On the first day of the naval drills, different IRGC coast guard, missile, electronic warfare and marine units displayed their combat and defense capabilities in the wargame region," Fars reported on Tuesday.

Fars cited Commander of IRGC's Fourth Naval Zone Admiral Alireza Nasseri as saying that the wargames aimed at evaluating the defense capabilities of the troops stationed in the region against potential threats.

'We have the lengthy sea borders in the Northern and Southern parts of the country, and defending these boundaries has requirements, including exercises, active presence in the sea and gaining defensive preparedness against potential threats,' Admiral Nasseri said.

Fars also reported on Tuesday that the Iranian Navy will start six-day naval drills in the country's southern waters on Friday.

The announcement of the upcoming exercises, dubbed Velayat 91 (Guardianship 91), was made on Tuesday by Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.

Fars quoted Sayyari as saying that the wargames will cover around one million square kilometers in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and north of the Indian Ocean.

"In addition to testing its defense and missile systems, combat vessels and submarines, the Iranian Navy will exercise naval combat, patrol and reconnaissance missions as well as confrontation against enemy threats, Sayyari said.

Last year, the Iranian Navy carried out 10-day Velayat 90 naval drill in approximately the same area to test its latest achievements in missile and submarine technology.

Tehran has repeatedly threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz over Western sanctions aimed at its suspect nuclear program but has not followed up on its threats yet.

Nearly 40% of the world's seaborne oil shipments pass through this strategically important waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

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