Tehran: Iran began new naval war games in the Gulf on Thursday to show the Islamic state's "power to defend" itself against any attack, state television reported.
It was the second such display of military might in less than a month.
The manoeuvres by Iran's regular navy, due to last eight days in the waterway crucial for global oil supplies, coincided with rising tension in Tehran's long-running nuclear dispute with Western powers.
The United States is lobbying UN Security Council members to back a fourth round of sanctions on Iran, to press it into curbing sensitive atomic work the West suspects is aimed at making bombs. Iran denies the charge.
The United States and Israel, Iran's arch foes, have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the row.
Iran, a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim state, has said it would respond to any attack by targeting US interests in the region and Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz.
The naval war games, which will cover an area also including the Gulf of Oman, originally had been due to start on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear why they were delayed by a day.
Navy commander Habibollah Sayari said the aim was to display Iran's "power to defend its territory”, state television reported.
Late last month, Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards staged four days of manoeuvres in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, testing missiles and a new speedboat capable of destroying enemy ships, official Iranian media reported.
First Published: Thursday, May 06, 2010, 13:14