Iran stages war games, attacks mock U.S. warship

The move was the elite Revolutionary Guards latest display of military muscle in a Gulf shipping channel, the Strait of Hormuz

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Flexing its military muscle, Iran on Wednesday staged war games in the Strait of Hormuz.

The move was the elite Revolutionary Guards' latest display of military muscle in a Gulf shipping channel, which is crucial to the world’s oil exports.

The ceremony was attended by commanders of the Guards, an influential military force led by anti-Western hawks, as well as by parliament speaker Ali Larijani, according to Reuters news agency.

The exercises included a gunboat attack on a model U.S. warship.

"With attention to the situation in the region, we have noticeably expanded the defence budget of the armed forces to ensure the stable security of the region," Larijani told a news conference before the exercises, according to Fars News.

The "maquette of an American aircraft carrier" was built to scale and targeted with cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, according to Fars News.

During the broadcast, one scene showed a banner reading "If the Americans are ready to be buried at the bottom of the waters of the Persian Gulf - so be it", a quote from Iran's first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Some 30 percent of all seaborne traded oil flows through Hormuz, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and U.S. officials have expressed concern in the past that Iran could try to disrupt the oil flow or even attack American warships patrolling the waters of the Gulf.

Iran, whose entire southern border runs along the Gulf and the adjacent Gulf of Oman, has often said it could block Hormuz, which connects the two waters, if Tehran came under military attack over its disputed nuclear program.

Talks on the program between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are intended to ensure the country's nuclear program is not aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear work is entirely for peaceful purposes.

[With Reuters]

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