TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s air force is carrying out a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea, the country’s official IRNA news agency said Friday.
The drill involves the military’s and Revolutionary Guard fighter jets, including U.S.-made F-4, French Mirage and Russian Sukhoi-22 planes, the report said, adding that five logistics and combat helicopters are also taking part in the exercise over the Persian Gulf waters and the Sea of Oman.
IRNA said the maneuver is a warning to Iran’s enemies that they face a quick, “stern response” in case of any ill-will toward Iran.
The exercise is part of annual manifestations on the anniversary of the start of the eight-year war Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched against Iran in 1980.
But it also comes after Tehran’s recent warnings that it would shut down the Strait of Hormuz if it’s blocked from exporting its crude because of U.S. pressure and renewed sanctions on Iran.
Tehran feels increasingly under pressure after President Donald Trump pulled America out of the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May.
Crushing U.S. oil sanctions on Iran will resume in early November and already, American allies in Asia are cutting back on their purchases of Iranian crude.
In July, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that if renewed sanctions threatened Iran’s crude oil exports, the rest of the Mideast’s exports would be threatened as well.
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