US President Donald Trump denied a request by an Islamic State bride, originally from the United States, from returning to her home in Alabama on Wednesday.
With tensions high between Israel and Iran, the Islamic Republic began an annual week-long naval war games in the Persian Gulf and strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The Commander of Iran’s Army Navy, Rr.-Adm. Hossein Khanzadi was quoted by Iran’s Mehr News Agency as saying the large-scale maritime drill, dubbed “Velayat-97,” would begin two kilometers from the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman, and continue to 10 degrees north of the Indian Ocean.
The games “aims for training naval plans to deal with any external threats, displaying power, assessing the equipment, the level of preparedness and accountability of the navy, and declaring readiness to achieve collective security in open waters,” Khanzadi was quoted as saying.
The drill is expected to have four stages, in which it will see submarines, warships, helicopters and surveillance planes take part in the drill. The drill will reportedly also include missile launches from naval vessels.
Iran has been working to upgrade its navy, acquiring new vessels and submarines to bolster its aging fleet. Last week, the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy announced the launch of its first indigenously developed submarine capable of firing cruise missiles.
“The Fateh is entirely a homegrown submarine that is designed and developed by experts of the Defense Ministry and is equipped with the world’s modern technologies,” Iran’s Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Amir Hatami was quoted saying Saturday by Tasnim.
According to Hatami, the Fateh-class submarine weighs 600 tons and is outfitted with a guided-missile system capable of launching cruise and anti-ship missiles, and torpedoes.
The Fateh, which also has an advanced sonic radar system that can identify enemy vessels, was also said to be able to dive to a depth of 200 meters for up to five weeks.
A comparison between Iran and Israel shows that while Iran has significantly more ships than Israel (398 versus 65), Iran has a total coastline of 2,440 km. compared to Israel’s 273 km.
In early February, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei urged Iran’s armed forces to continue to increase their military capabilities.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not intend to start a war against anyone,” he was quoted by Fars as saying in a message to the military. “But you should increase your capabilities to the extent that not only does the enemy fear attacking Iran but also the shadow of war against the Iranian nation will fade away with the help of the Armed Forces’ solidarity, might and effective deployment.”