image Photo: Reuters

Iran holds multi-sector military drill

The Islamic Republic conducted joint naval, air, and ground exercises in the Gulf of Oman near the sensitive Strait of Hormuz.

By Erin Viner

The three-day maneuvers involved “the deployment of several pieces of domestically built equipment, from drones and missile systems to warships, submarines and tanks,” reported Iran’s state-owned Press TV news network, as part of efforts to build up the country’s “defense arsenal against the backdrop of the West’s arms embargoes on Tehran.”

The Iranian Armed Forces stated, “it is capable of protecting the country’s land, air and sea borders” with existing locally developed military hardware” while working to produce “more advanced missile systems to further bolster its deterrent power” in the event of “potential aggression against its territorial waters,” added the report.

Naval activity engaged all four branches of the Iranian Army, including the Air Defense force, with use of the latest Mersad and Bavar missile systems “to strike hostile air targets” during the exercise.

Submarines and drones were deployed to practice “information-gathering operations against attacking forces, as well as reconnaissance operations,” Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told the official IRNA news agency.

The large-scale training, dubbed “Zolfaghar-1401,” was launched overnight Friday on the eastern side of the Hormuz Strait stretching all the way to the Sea of Oman and north of the Indian Ocean.

It is the latest of an annual show of force by Iran, which combats the presence of the United States and other Western navies in the area.

The Hormuz Strait is a strategic waterway in the Gulf through which about a fifth of all crude oil consumed globally must pass.

Adm. Sayyari reiterated his nation’s insistence that all “foreign forces must leave the area.”

In May 2021, a United States Coast Guard ship fired about 30 warning shots after 13 vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) came close to it and other American Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon said on Monday.

According to a statement TV7 obtained from the United States 5th Fleet Public Affairs Office, a group of 13 Fast In-shore Attack Craft (FIAC) speedboats armed with machine guns operated by the IRGCN “conducted unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers and failed to exercise due regard for the safety of US forces as required under international law while operating in close proximity to US naval vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz.”