Iran launches missile drill amid escalating tensions with US by Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s military launched a short-range naval missile drill on Wednesday, Iranian state television reported, at a time of high tension between arch-enemies Tehran and Washington. Iran has one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East, viewing such weapons as a major deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States and other adversaries in the event of war. The West sees Iran’s missiles as a conventional military threat to regional stability and as a possible launch mechanism for nuclear weapons if Tehran develops them. The Iranian-made warship Makran, which state media described as Iran’s largest warship with a helicopter platform, and a missile launching ship named Zereh (armored) participated in the two-day exercise in the Gulf of Oman. Tensions between the United States and Iran have risen since 2018, when President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal. The United States restored tough sanctions to pressure Iran to negotiate stricter restrictions on its nuclear program, ballistic missile development and support. to the regional forces of power. In recent years, there have been periodic clashes between the Iranian military and US forces in the Gulf, where Tehran holds annual exercises to show the Islamic Republic’s military might in dealing with “foreign threats.” Last week, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in Gulf waters and detained its crew amid tensions between Tehran and Seoul over Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks due to US sanctions. U.S. In early 2019, Iran increased tensions on the world’s busiest oil waterway by seizing the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero two weeks after a British warship intercepted an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.

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