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Iran plans naval drills in December

Nov. 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM

TEHRAN, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Iranian military commanders said drills planned for next month in southern waters are meant to showcase the country's deterrence power.

Iranian naval Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said naval drills are scheduled to get begin Dec. 21 and last 10 days. Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports a "massive" exercise is slated for Dec. 24 in drills that would cover an area from the eastern Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Aden.

Iranian officials are expected to meet with members of the International Atomic Energy Agency in December to discuss the country's nuclear ambitions.

Sayyari made no mention of an attempt to close off shipping lanes in the strait, a conduit for much of the world's maritime oil shipments.

Iran is at odds with Saudi Arabia over maritime territory in the region. Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi was quoted by the Iranian Students' News Agency as saying military deployment of mines in southern waters has instilled a sense of "dread" among U.S. forces patrolling waters in the region.

Fadavi said Iran's naval presence turned the tide in Iran's favor during its war with Iraq in the 1980s, when the U.S. government eventually moved in support of Baghdad.

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