Tags: Iran | Middle East | Trump Administration | War on Terrorism | strait of hormuz | navy | islamic revolutionary guard

Report: Iran Planning Major Exercise in Strait of Hormuz

Report: Iran Planning Major Exercise in Strait of Hormuz
Iranian Revolutionary Guard (Vahid Salemi/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 August 2018 06:07 PM

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran could begin an exercise involving more than 100 boats within 48 hours to prove it can shut down the critical Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, CNN reported Wednesday.

"We are aware of the increase in Iranian naval operations within the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman," Capt. William Urban, chief spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told CNN.

"We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways," he said.

The Strait of Hormuz connects the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea — and it is crucial to international shipping, as about 20 percent of the world's energy supply passes through the waterway.

Citing "two U.S. officials directly familiar with the latest U.S. assessment" of the Iranian group's troop movements, CNN reported. American officials see no immediate threat, but the move comes as Tehran has increasingly threatened action in the region in response to U.S. sanctions.

In addition, the possible size of the exercise — 100 boats, mostly fast-moving vessels, and hundreds of Iranian troops — is raising U.S. concerns, as well as the timing of the effort, which normally comes later in the year.

The U.S. has only one major warship in the Persian Gulf, the USS The Sullivans, officials told CNN.

"Other U.S. warships are nearby and there are numerous combat aircraft in the region,'' the cable network reported.

In addition, U.S. military officials are working to encourage other nations in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia, in working harder to keep the Gulf open amid Tehran's actions.

They have also expressed concern about keeping open the waterways off Yemen, where rebels backed by Iran have attacked oil tankers.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Friday the Pentagon would continue to work with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates to stand down Iran in the region.

"Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz," Mattis said. "They've done that previously in years past.

"Dozens of nations of the international community put their naval forces in for exercises to clear the straits.

"Clearly, this would be an attack on international shipping — and it would have, obviously, an international response to reopen the shipping lanes with whatever that took.

"The world's economy depends on that energy, those energy supplies flowing out of there."

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To prove it can shut down the critical Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran could begin an exercise involving more than 100 boats within 48 hours, according to CNN on Wednesday.
strait of hormuz, navy, islamic revolutionary guard, nuclear deal
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2018-07-01
Wednesday, 01 August 2018 06:07 PM
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