Iran successfully test fired what it claimed is a cruise missile on Sunday during naval exercises near the contested Strait of Hormuz, according to state media.
“On the third day of the … exercises, a Ghadir-class Iranian navy submarine successfully launched a cruise missile,” the official news agency IRNA reported.
Iran’s other submarines, the Tareq and the new domestically built Fateh (Conqueror) have the same anti-ship capability, IRNA quoted a military statement as saying.
Iran is currently running a major naval exercise 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.
As Breitbart News reported, 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
Iran’s expansion of its missile program, particularly its ballistic missiles, has been met with expressions of concern by the United States and European countries. Tehran says the program provides deterrent capabilities and is defensive.
Western experts say Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities, although there are concerns about its long-range ballistic missiles.
Last year retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones, former national security adviser during the Obama administration, said if Iran ever followed through on its threats to block international shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, he would like to see its navy “disappear.”
“I personally, would like to see, if they ever did something in the Straits of Hormuz, I would like to see their navy disappear,” he said after an event at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.
He also indicated that he supported the Trump administration’s reimposition of sanctions on Iran, calling sanctions “effective.”
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