shihab 298 88.
(photo credit: AP)
Iran unexpectedly announced Wednesday that it would be holding military maneuvers in the Gulf this week, only days after US-led navies held exercises in the same waterway.
Iranian state television quoted the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, as saying the 10-day maneuvers, named "Great Prophet," would take place in the Gulf and the Sea of Oman, beginning Thursday.
"The war games are aimed at demonstrating the deterrent power of the guards against possible threats," Safavi said.
Safavi stressed the drills were not a threat to neighboring countries, saying: "Our neighbors are our friends. The guards just want to prove that they are ready to resist any threatening situation."
His announcement came two days after US-led warships finished a two-day maneuver in the Gulf, an exercise that Iran described as ""adventurist."
Iran said the six-nation drills would not improve security in the Gulf waters, through which about 20 percent of the world's oil passes. It also called on Gulf nations to set up their own regional security arrangements.
The US-led maneuvers focused on surveillance, with warships tracking a ship suspected of carrying components of illegal weapons. The nations that took part were Australia, Bahrain, Britain, France, Italy and the United States.
Iran regularly holds large maneuvers, often using them to test weapons developed by its arms industry.
On Wednesday, Safavi told state TV: "The guard's air force will test fire the Shihab-3 (missile), equipped with cluster a warhead, in the war game."