Iran's naval forces began six days of war games on Friday in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway considered vital to international oil tanker traffic. Accounts in the state-run news media said the war games, covering a 400,000-square-mile area, were devised to test combat ships, submarines, reconnaissance methods and a new version of the Thunder surface-to-air midrange missile. The official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted a commander, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, as saying the exercises were meant to transmit a message of friendship to neighbors and display "the armed forces' military capabilities." Iran, which periodically conducts such naval maneuvers, has said it could close the Strait of Hormuz as retaliation for Western sanctions imposed over Iran's disputed nuclear energy program.
Source: The New York Times | RICK GLADSTONE