Sunday 25 December 2011

Iran military exercises

Iran Begins Its Massive 10 Day Naval Exercise Near The Strait Of Hormuz

24 December, 2011

Iran's 10 day naval exercise began this morning and the world now looks on with a bit of trepidation, waiting to see if Tehran's forces attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Ramin Mostafavi of Reuters Africa reports the drill, which has been dubbed "Velayat-e 90," has "some analysts and diplomats" concerned Iran will attempt to shut the strait if conflict breaks out with the West. 

Navy commander Habibollah Sayyari tells Iran's ILNA labour news agency "The enforcement of the decision to close of the Strait of Hormuz is certainly within Iran's armed forces' capability, but such a decision should be made by the country's top authorities."

Despite concerns, Tehran officials have said they will not close the strait, and they have not attempted to do so in the past.

The Strait of Hormuz sees nearly 40 percent of the world's oil pass through its banks and Iran's recent threat to close the waterway was not taken lightly.

When reports that Iran had followed through with their threat came out earlier this month, oil prices skyrocketed. An actual closing of the strait would send crude prices soaring.

The drills also put the Iranian Navy within close distance to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain. The fleet consists of an Aircraft Carrier Battle Group, an Amphibious Ready Group, surface combatants, submarines, maritime patrol and surveillance planes, and logistics ships.

The Iranians have long made sport of running at the Fleet's ships in small speedboats and the tactic became such a concern for U.S. forces that the White House requested a direct line be established between the Oval Office and Tehran.

Tehran declined to accommodate the request and the practice is sure to be a concern during this newest drill.

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