Iran holds military drills near strategic Strait of Hormuz

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Iranian military began its annual drills Friday off the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, state television reported, even as authorities continue to crack down on antigovernment activity that has The protests went on for more than three months.

The strait, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, is critical to global energy supplies and passes through about a fifth of all oil traded at sea.

Commandos and airborne infantry will join drones, fighter jets, helicopters, military transport planes and submarines in the wargame dubbed “Zolfaghar-1401,” the TV report said. It added that the Iranian military would also launch missiles and air defense systems.

The exercises were aimed at “increasing readiness to deal with foreign threats and any possible invasion,” the station said.

Iran regularly holds such exercises to improve its defenses and test weapons.

Iran has been rocked by anti-government protests since mid-September. They have been ignited by the death of a woman detained by the country’s morality police. The demonstrations quickly escalated into calls for an end to more than four decades of clerical rule in the country.

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