Iran to Hold Annual War Games in Strategic Strait of Hormuz

Tehran announces exercise months after U.S. sanctions hit the country

File Photo: Iran's navy members stand on Ghadir-942 submarine in southern port of Bandar Abbas, Iran, at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Thursday, November 29, 2018.
Rahbar Emamdadi,AP

Iran’s navy says it will hold an annual drill in the strategic Strait of Hormuz as pressure mounts on the country months after the United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran, targeting its vital oil sector.

The strait is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is crucial to global energy supplies, with about a third of all oil traded at sea passing through it.

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Iranian Adm. Hossein Khanzadi told state TV on Thursday the 3-day maneuvers will start on Friday and extend as far as the Sea of Oman and the fringes of the Indian Ocean.

He said submarines, warships, helicopters and surveillance planes will participate in the drill, dubbed as “Velayat-97.” The exercise will include missile launches from the vessels.

Iran regularly holds maneuvers in the strait and in the past has issued warnings that it would shut down the Strait of Hormuz if it's blocked from exporting its crude because of U.S. pressure and renewed sanctions on Iran.

Tehran feels increasingly under pressure after President Donald Trump pulled America out of the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May.