Iran Starts Naval Exercise in Strait of Hormuz

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Iran’s navy began an annual drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. This is its first major exercise since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

The two-day maneuver will cover an area of 2 million sq km in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean near the strait. It showed Iranian warships and helicopters.

Nearly a third of all oil traded by sea passes through the strait and it has been the scene of previous confrontations between the US and Iran.

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But the current exercise does not involve Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard. The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain and protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters.

Iran reformists, moderates and hardliners believe that this is a tactically and strategically intelligent move. According to them, Iran is sending a message to the Trump administration and regional powers that it will not alter the core pillars of its foreign and regional policy even if there is a new administration in USA.

Iran is showcasing its military and hard power in an attempt to assert regional preeminence and superiority.

The naval exercises are being staged at a time when tensions with the US escalated after the administration of US President Donald Trump put Tehran “on notice.”

Since taking office, Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all US options were on the table.