Iran Launches Navy Drill 

Friday, 22 February, 2019 - 09:15
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran launched on Friday a three-day annual navy drill in a vast area between the Strait of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean including a sensitive global shipping route.

"The drill will be held in the waters of Strait of Hormuz, Oman Sea and the north of the Indian Ocean, covering 2 million square kilometers and going on for three days," Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, Iran's navy commander, said on Thursday.

The exercise aims to evaluate the navy's equipment, practice launching weapons and "enable the troops to gain readiness for a real battle," he added.

The Strait of Hormuz is crucial to global energy supplies, with about a third of the world's seaborne oil passing through it every day.

It is an international transit route where American forces routinely pass and which has seen tense encounters between them and Iranian forces in the past.

Dubbed as "Velayat 97," the drill will showcase Iran's submarines, warships, helicopters and drones, according to the admiral.

The exercise will also include missile launches from the vessels, Khanzadi added.

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