Joint naval maneuvers between Oman and Iran begin

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An Iranian Navy flotilla departed for Oman on Saturday to attend a joint “maritime rescue drill” in the South Sea and north of the Indian Ocean, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

The agency quoted the commander of Iran's First Naval Zone Admiral Hossein Azad as saying: “Providing security of the ships and preparing their rescue is necessary.”

However, last year, there were 527 interactions between US naval forces and Iranian naval forces, 35 of which the US deemed to be unsafe or unprofessional on Iran’s part. There had been seven such interactions so far this year, according to US statistics. (ANALYSIS Maritime implications of Trump’s threats against Iran).

The Washington Times said last month that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen are using a new weapon that raises fears of seaborne attacks on both military and commercial shipping in the region.

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The weapon is an Iranian-designed remotely piloted small boat filled with explosives, a defense official told the news site,

The exact number of explosive drone boats is not known, but the rebels are believed to have enough to threaten ships that pass through strategic routes off the Yemeni coast. The newspaper added that the navy has intelligence photos of the deadly boats but declined a request to release them. The boats were first detected after one was used in an attack Jan. 30 on a Saudi frigate in the Red Sea.

IRNA said, this year, Oman hosts one-week long joint maritime rescue drill in the South Sea and the Indian Ocean, aimed at providing security of the region.

The official said that the Iranian flotilla, attending the drill, consists of Iran's Sabalan destroyer, Lavan logistic warship, SH3D helicopter and Falakhen navy ship with the capacity of 1000 crew members.