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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran to hold naval drill in Indian Ocean

ISNA - Iranian Students' News Agency

Sat 15 Nov 2014 - 11:01

TEHRAN (ISNA)- Iran plans to stage a massive naval drill in high seas late December, said Commander of Iran's Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.

'The drill codenamed 'Veleyat 93' will be held late December in northern Indian Ocean,' Sayyari said.

He also said Iranian naval forces would not hold drill only in the country's territorial waters.

'We are present in high seas to defend interests of our own country,' he said, as expressing the hope that the country could use new crafts or weapons in the exercise.

In recent years, Iran's Navy has been increasing its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for trade vessels and tankers.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly asserted that its overseas naval presence is meant to convey a message of peace and friendship to the other countries. Iranian officials and commanders have also underlined on various occasions that all military exercises and trainings of the Iranian Armed Forces are merely meant to serve deterrent purposes.

Velayat wargames are the annual exercises conducted by the Iranian Army's naval forces each year. Last year, the drills were conducted in the second half of the Iranian year (September, 2013-March, 2014) and were codenamed Velayat 2.

Different units, including surface, subsurface, air and airborne units, participated in the drills.

And almost a year before Velayat 2, the Iranian Navy finished 6 days of massive naval exercises, codenamed Velayat 91, in the country's Southern waters in January 2013.

The naval drills were carried out in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, North of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.

During the exercises, the Navy test-fired various types of long-range missiles from coasts and navy vessels.

Different types of short and long-range coast-to-sea, surface-to-surface, surface-to-air missiles were also tested by Iranian troops and vessels. Iranian submarines also launched smart torpedoes during the drills.

Iran's naval power has even been acknowledged by foes. In a Sep. 11, 2008 report, the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy said that in the two decades since the Iraqi imposed war on Iran, the Islamic Republic has excelled in naval capabilities and is able to wage unique asymmetric warfare against larger naval forces.

According to the report, Iran's Navy has been transformed into a highly motivated, well-equipped, and well-financed force and is effectively in control of the world's oil lifeline, the Strait of Hormuz.

The study said that if Washington takes military action against the Islamic Republic, the scale of Iran's response would likely be proportional to the scale of the damage inflicted on Iranian assets.

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