Iran is preparing a new exercise that will involve the navy, army and air force. It will take place over a huge area of “millions” of square kilometers and will include the Strait of Hormuz, the shores of Makran, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean, Iran says.
This new drill comes on the heels of increased military activity in Iran designed to show the US and the Gulf states that the Islamic Republic has improved its precision weapons and drones.
Tehran says it intends to have a three-stage drill. This will involve intelligence, tactics and “demonstration of power.” Surface vessels, submarines and UAVs will likely be used.
Iranian Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, a longtime naval commander with experience in these kinds of drills, has said that Iran will show its “authority” and “readiness” along its coast.
It has been dubbed Zulfiqar 99. It’s not clear how Iran names and numbers these drills. Last year it held the Velayat 90 drill. Iran will attempt to showcase the use of naval forces to amphibious invasions during this drill.
This is likely to send a message to the Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Iran has slammed the UAE for normalizing relations with Israel.
It’s not like Iran is secretive about its overall goal. It says the drill is designed to show that it can control the region and take over “security” in international waters.
Over the last year and a half, Iran has mined ships in the Gulf of Oman, boarded a British ship, apparently hijacked a second ship off the coast of the UAE, and carried out helicopter assaults and raids to interdict other vessels.
Iran has also harassed US naval patrols using its IRGC fast boats.
Tehran continues to boast that its internal defense industry is capable of supplying all the needs of its military units. These drills are designed to show that off. Iran has also held joint naval drills with Russia and China over the last year. The regime has accused Israel of wanting to spy on it from an island off the coast of Yemen.
The US Navy, meanwhile, has stopped three ships from Iran moving weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. That means there is a contest for control of the seas and shipping lanes.
Tehran’s goal is to flex its muscles in the face of a much more powerful US Navy which could easily lay waste to Iran’s relatively small navy in an afternoon, should America actually put assets into such a conflict.
Source » jpost