US on alert? Iran holds terrifying military drills to confront ‘foreign threats’

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Tehran showed off its military might during the three-day annual military drill in the Gulf of Oman near the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway. Dubbed Zolfaghar-99, naval, air and ground forces as well as submarines and drones participated in the exercise.

Admiral Habibollah Sardar told Iranian state TV the exercise was to confront “foreign threats and any possible invasion”.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the drill, Admiral Shahram Irani, revealed US drones had been removed from the area following a warning from Iran.

Tensions between the US and Iran have intensified over recent months.

The two countries were on the brink of war back in January after US forces killed Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani during a missile strike in Iraq.

General Soleimani was travelling through Baghdad when his convoy was struck by three US missiles.

Just days after the attack, Tehran retaliated and launched a series of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops.

Washington has also been seeking an extension of a United Nations (UN) arms embargo against Tehran, under the Trump administration.

This is set to expire in October under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal which the US withdrew from.

The nuclear deal had restricted Iran’s nuclear weapons capability in return for sanctions relief.

However, Mr Trump abandoned the agreement in 2018 and has gone on to introduce a number of sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

These sanctions have crippled the economy.

Since 2019, the two countries have come to the brink of direct confrontation twice in the Gulf of Oman after Iran shot down a US drone.

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Tehran holds annual naval games in the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil-trading route.

Back in July, Iranian forces fired a missile from a helicopter targeting a replica of a US aircraft carrier.

In the same month, it was revealed Iran had underground cities armed with missiles along the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

Iranian Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said the weapons were a “nightmare” for their foes.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon said Iran is the “greatest threat to peace”.

They said at the time: “Iran claims to want good relations with its neighbours, yet it continues to threaten them with even greater levels of violence.

“Iran is the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East.

“Statements like this demonstrate clearly that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its leaders are a destabilising force in the region.”

Over the years, Iran has shown off a series of underground tunnels and command centres across the country.

Although analysts have been trying to pinpoint the facilities, Admiral Tangsiri said Iran’s foes had “inaccurate information”.

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