Iran to hold drill in Persian Gulf

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - 18:11

Tehran: In the second military show in less
than a month, Iran will hold a new set of manoeuvres in the
strategic waters of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman,
Iranian media reported today.

Iran regularly holds such military exercises but they are
likely to heighten tensions, coming at a time of a deepening
standoff between the West and Tehran over the country`s
controversial nuclear program.

"The massive manoeuvres dubbed Velayat-89 will show
(Iran`s) defensive and deterrent naval power," Iranian Navy
chief Adm Habibollah Sayyari was quoted as saying by the
official IRNA news agency. Submarine and air force units are
also due to participate, he added.

Sayyari also confirmed a recent flyover by an Iranian
surveillance jet and its close encounter with a US Navy
aircraft carrier, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Iran "has the right to conduct routine surveillance
flights," Fars quoted Sayyari as saying. He said the F-27 jet
flew over the US vessel and "despite their objection, we
persisted on our right" to carry out the surveillance.

Sayyari did not elaborate on the time and location of the

But a US military official said last week the US Navy had
a close encounter in international waters of the Gulf of Oman.
The official said the jet buzzed the USS Eisenhower, coming
within about 1,000 yards (meters) of the ship on April 21. The
official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorised to speak publicly on the matter.

Iran`s new war games are to start tomorrow, said IRNA.
Fars said the exercise will last for eight days and cover a
span of about 250,000 square kilometres of Iranian territorial


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First Published: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - 18:11

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