Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched a surprise military drill Wednesday on disputed islands in the Persian Gulf as the US military increased its presence in the region, AP reports.
According to the report, the elite force ran the drills mainly off the coast of Abu Musa which, along with Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, are islands in the Gulf that Iran controls but have recently been increasingly the subject of political tensions.
Iran did not provide a reason for launching the drill, though such snap exercises have happened in the past, the report said.
“We always try for security and tranquility; it is our way,” the Guard’s chief, General Hossein Salami, said in a televised address during the drill.
“Our nation is vigilant, and it gives harsh responses to all threats, complicated seditions and secret scenarios and hostilities,” He added.
The Pentagon has said the deployment is “in response to recent attempts by Iran to threaten the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and its surrounding waters”.
Some 20 per cent of the world’s oil passes through the narrow waterway connecting the Arabian Gulf to the wider world and the US views it as crucial to both its national security and keeping global energy prices stable.