Iran navy to hold 10-day war games

Tehran often flexes muscles at such events in attempt to display readiness against potential strikes.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
December 22, 2011 14:01
2 minute read.
Habibulah, Iran navy commander

Habibulah, Iran navy commander 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Khaled Al Hariri)

 
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Iran's navy will launch a 10-day war game in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, state television quoted Navy Commander Habibulah Sayari as saying on Thursday.

The war game, named Velayat-90, will be carried out over an area extending from east of the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Eden, the report said.

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"The maneuvers will be carried out with the intention of displaying the determination, defensive and deterrent power of the Iranian armed forces as well as relaying a message of peace and friendship in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and the free waters of the Indian Ocean," Sayari said.

Iran often announces its military capabilities and tests weaponry at its periodic war game in an apparent attempt to show its readiness for any strikes by Israel or the United States.

The war games announcement comes amid increased US rhetoric against Iran's pursuit of a nuclear program.

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that Iran will be able to assemble a nuclear bomb within a year, if not sooner.



When asked by CBS News anchor Scott Pelley if Iran could get a nuclear weapon by 2012, Panetta answered: “It would probably be about a year before they can do it. Perhaps a little less.”

He added that the Iranians may have a hidden facility somewhere already enriching fuel, meaning they may be able to develop a nuclear weapon even earlier.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday
, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey reiterated Washington's resolve to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. "My biggest worry is they will miscalculate our resolve," Dempsey said, referring to Iran. "Any miscalculation could mean that we are drawn into conflict, and that would be a tragedy for the region and the world."

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Iranian threat


International suspicion of Iran's nuclear program was fueled by a November 8 International Atomic Energy Agency report that stated Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a nuclear weapon.

In a bid to quell international suspicion, Iran announced Tuesday that it had invited an IAEA team to Tehran to inspect its nuclear program. On Thursday, the Islamic state's ambassador to the IAEA said that an inspection could take place as early as January.

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