Iran is ready to begin an annual navy drill in the strategic Strait of Hormuz as the re-imposed United States sanctions against the Islamic republic, targeting its vital oil sector, begin to bite.
The strait is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is crucial to global energy supplies. About 18 million barrels of oil pass through every day, accounting for over 30 percent of all oil shipments by sea.
Iran has longed claimed to be the sole owner of the contested piece of water, but Tehran and Washington have often clashed over the narrow strait. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has never backed down from reminding Iran of where it stands:
The Islamic Republic of Iran does not control the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait is an international waterway. The United States will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 27, 2018
In September last year a close maritime encounter between the Iran Revolutionary Guard’s navy and the USS Theodore Roosevelt was captured on video.
In the video, IRG speedboats close the U.S. carrier as sailors tell the Americans over radio communication to “keep well clear.”
Guard patrol boats also warn the Americans to “refrain from the threat or use of force in any manner.” Watch below:
Iranian Adm. Hossein Khanzadi told state TV on Thursday the three-day maneuvers will start on Friday and extend as far as the Sea of Oman and the fringes of the Indian Ocean.
He said submarines, warships, helicopters and surveillance planes will participate in the drill, dubbed as “Velayat-97.” The exercise will include missile launches from the vessels.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org