Iran conducted naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean on Sunday after U.S President Donald J. Trump put Tehran “on notice.” The exercises are meant to provoke and test the new administration, which unlike its predecessor, vowed to take a tougher stance against the Islamic Republic regime.
Iran conducted a ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 and the U.S. responded by saying all options were on the table.
The regime’s annual exercises will be conducted in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said they are aiming to train their navy in the fight against terrorism and piracy, though the U.S. lists Iran as the largest state sponsor of terrorism.
In reality, the Iranian navy is conducting these exercises near the waterways where millions of barrels of oil are transported daily to Europe, the United States and Asia. The Bab el-Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz are waterways that run along the coasts of Yemen and Iran, the former being a failed state run by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Navy ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and marines will showcase their skills along Iran’s southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said.
The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the region and protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters.
Last month, a U.S. Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they closed in at high speed. The vessels belonged to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards which are not participating in the current war games.