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Iran's navy watching southern waters

  |   Dec. 3, 2012 at 11:55 AM
TEHRAN, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Foreign military powers engaged in the northern waters of the Indian Ocean are upsetting the regional order, an Iranian naval commander said.

Iranian navy commander Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said Iran opposes the presence of foreign military powers off the country's southern coast.

The navy, he said, "does not accept" that some countries may be pursuing "illegitimate interests and disturb regional order" by deploying near the northern waters of the Indian Ocean, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reports.

Sayyari made no mention of which countries were interfering in regional order. Last week, Australia, India and Australia announced a partnership to serve as a bulwark against China's rising dominance in the region, the Times of India reports.

The U.S. military has embraced a policy that shifts its focus to the Asia-Pacific region as engagements in the Middle East wind down.

Tehran, meanwhile, is at odds with the Saudi government over maritime territory in the region.

Last month, Sayyari said "massive" naval drills were scheduled in Iran's southern waters starting Dec. 21. Those drills coincide roughly with scheduled talks between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog.

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