IRAN is now carrying out a major naval exercise near the Strait of Hormuz, the same major shipping route of global oil supply they have threatened to block.
The exercise is considered a possible response to rhetoric and sanctions from the Trump Administration in pressuring Iran away from nuclear activities, as well as the U.S Navy’s presence in the area.
The U.S officials have been monitoring Iran’s navy activity in the Strait. The exercise fully began on August, 2 and is expected to end on August, 6. More than 100n Iranian boats and ships are present for the exercise, though most are smaller boats.
Meanwhile, unnamed aerial vehicles [UAVs] and other aircraft have been spotted participating in the exercise.
The yearly exercise typically happens later in the year with a significantly smaller fleet. The changed schedule and large fleet may be an attempt by Iran to show off its ability to potentially close the Strait, which Iran has threatened to do numerous times.
Trump’s Administration is set to enact the first of the renewed sanctions against Iran on August, 7, reports say.
The looming sanctions, have already made an impact on the Iranian economy, as the country’s currency, the rial has dropped to records low, fueling unrest and protest in Tehran.
Press counselor of the Iran’s U.N. mission did not elaborate on the naval exercise, but referenced a statement issued by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Thursday in which Zarif condemned the U.S. Navy for its presence in the Arabian Gulf.
“US Navy cannot seem for find its way around the waters. Perhaps because it hasn’t figured out its name: Persian Gulf, as it’s been called for 2,000 years longer that US have existed. Or maybe it doesn’t know what I’s doing in our backyard, 7,000 miles from home,” Zairif tweeted.
Tensions have been growing between the U.S. and the Iran since President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The President also levied economic sanctions against Iran, in addition to urging other nations to reduce their reliance on Iranian oil.
Following that, the Iranian leaders have expressed their outrage by threatening to close the Starit-where more than 18 million barrels of oil are transferred each day- if Iranian oil exports are blocked.