Tehran Launches Annual Military Drill Amid Tensions
Iran has launched a massive three-day military drill in the Gulf of Oman in close proximity to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which a major proportion of the world’s crude transits on its way out of the Arabian Gulf. The exercise, held on an annual basis, includes ground troops as well as naval units and the air force. Begun on Thursday, this year’s drill will take place in an area measuring about 800,000 square miles. It will highlight submarine warfare and the use of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles. Several reports say Iran’s military will use the occasion to test new weaponry. An admiral serving as spokesman for the exercise told state television that the US had withdrawn surveillance drones from the area after receiving a warning from Tehran. There was no immediate confirmation from the American side. Tensions between the two countries have been high since 2018, when Washington reinstated harsh economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a 2015 accord aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. More recently, the US unsuccessfully attempted to extend a UN ban on the import and export of weapons by Iran that is scheduled to end in October.