Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said on Sunday it had conducted war games in the Persian Gulf over the past few days, adding that it was aimed at “confronting possible threats,” according to the official IRNA news agency.
US officials have told Reuters on Thursday that the United States believes Iran has begun training in the waters of the Persian Gulf, apparently presenting an annual exercise schedule amid mounting tensions with Washington.
“This training was carried out with the aim of controlling and protecting the security of the international waterway and within the framework of the annual military guard training program,” IRNA quoted Guards spokesman Ramadan Sharif as saying.
The US Central Command confirmed on Wednesday that it had monitored the Iranian naval activity and extended activity to the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway for oil shipments that the Revolutionary Guards had threatened to close.
Sherif Reza expressed “successful naval exercises for the guards,” stressing “the need to maintain and strengthen the defense readiness.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said about 100 ships may have participated in the exercises, including small boats.
He said the maneuvers appeared to have been aimed at sending a message to Washington that would ease economic and diplomatic pressure on Tehran, but it had not yet reached the point where the US military was used in a fiercer confrontation with Iran and its proxies.
Iran is angered by US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions on Tehran.