Iran launches naval maneuver in the Sea of Oman

Large-scale, 6-day maneuver

Iran launched a large-scale, six-day naval maneuver in the Sea of Oman on Tuesday, the official news agency reported. About 60 warships were set to participate in the maneuver, which will cover 50,000-square miles (129,500-sq. kilometers) of Iranian territorial waters, according to the agency, IRNA. This type of "maneuver has been rare in the past 30 years both in its size and commissioning of new weapons," IRNA quoted the maneuver's spokesman, Adm. Ghasem Rostamabadi, as saying. Aircraft from Iran's air force will also participate in the war game, dubbed "Unity-87" in reference to the current year 1387 in the traditional Persian calendar. No other details were immediately available. Iran regularly holds war games in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Linking the two bodies of water is the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway where 40 percent of the world's oil passes through. Teheran has repeatedly warned that it would close the narrow strait if the US or Israel attacked it over Teheran's disputed nuclear program. In October, Iran's navy inaugurated a new naval base on the eastern part of the Strait in the port town of Jask. Iranian officials frequently talk about Tehran's military capabilities amid concerns that the US or Israel is considering a strike against the country's nuclear facilities. Washington and Israel say they prefer a diplomatic solution, but have not ruled out any options. In June, the IDF sent warplanes over the eastern Mediterranean in for a large military exercise that US officials described as a possible rehearsal for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. The US and some of its allies fear that Iran is secretly seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its nuclear program is only for electricity-generating purposes.