Iran: Military exercises begin in Persian Gulf
Iran began a large-scale military exercise focused on security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, state television Press TV reported. The deputy chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, said Iranian forces were testing weapon systems in the Strait of Hormuz, as well as intelligence and communication capabilities, Italian news agency AKI reported.
"The main objective of this war game is to preserve the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway for the global energy and economy," he said.
About 40 percent of the world's oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz and the exercise coincides with international efforts to increase United Nations' sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear ambitions.
The three-day exercise dubbed the "Great Prophet 5" includes air, naval and ground forces and coincided with the 31st anniversary of the establishment of the Revolutionary Guards.
Over 300 vessels equipped with torpedo and guided-missiles are taking part in the exercise, according to Press TV.
In the course of the military drills, 50 high-speed Iranian vessels indentified hypothetical enemy targets intruding into the Persian Gulf territory, it said.