Iran to hold missile drill in Oman amid tensions: state TV

A handout picture provided by the Iranian Army official website on September 10, 2020 shows an Iranian Shalamcheh missile being fired during a military exercise in the Gulf, near strategic strait of Hormuz. (File photo: AFP)

Iran’s navy was poised to begin a short-range missile drill in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday, state TV reported, amid heightened regional tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The two-day missile drill was to be held in the gulf’s southeastern waters and two new Iranian-made warships were expected to joined the exercise: The missile-launching Zereh, or “armor,” and the Makran, a logistics vessel with a helicopter pad named for a coastal region in southern Iran.

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President Donald Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear deal, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Trump cited Iran’s ballistic missile program among other issues in withdrawing from the accord.

When the US then ramped up sanctions, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development as a series of escalating incidents pushed the two countries to the brink of war at the beginning of the year.In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills.

On Saturday, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard held a naval parade in the Persian Gulf and a week earlier Iran held a massive drone maneuver across half the country.

Also last week, Iran seized a South Korean oil tanker and its crew members in the Gulf, and continues to hold the vessel at an Iranian port. The Islamic Republic has apparently sought to increase its leverage over Seoul ahead of negotiations over billions of dollars in Iranian assets frozen in South Korean banks tied to US sanctions on Iran.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of having secret ties with the al-Qaeda network and imposed new sanctions on several senior Iranian officials. Iran has denied the accusation.

Read more:

Iran’s IRGC unveils underground missile base in Arabian Gulf: State media

US top diplomat Pompeo says al-Qaeda has new home base in Iran

Iran deploys submarine, cruise missile during military exercises in Strait of Hormuz

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Last Update: Thursday, 14 January 2021 KSA 09:22 - GMT 06:22
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