Iran conducts a naval military exercise ‘Velayat 97’ from Persian Gulf to Indian Ocean
An Iranian naval force has started a massive three-day drill, codenamed “Velayat 97”, across two million square kilometers of sea between the Straits of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean, including a sensitive global shipping route. The drill will showcase Iran’s submarines, warships, helicopters and drones. It is being held from the Strait of Hormuz to the southeastern coasts of Makran, the Sea of Oman and the northern parts of the Indian Ocean, down to the 10-degrees latitude. The naval exercise comes at a time of tensions with the US, after Washington condemned Iran at the summit in Warsaw. In addition Iran has upped tensions with Saudi Arabia after a terror attack in southeastern Iran, which Tehran blamed partly on Riyadh. Iran has also recently condemned the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the US. Sending its navy to the Strait of Hormuz, a major chokepoint for the world’s oil, is provocative. The Strait of Hormuz is an international transit route where American forces routinely pass and which has seen tense encounters between them and Iranian forces in the past.