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Iran Launches 10-Day Naval Drills

Iranian army helicopters take part in a military drill near the Strait of Hormuz in May, 2010
Iran's navy has launched a 10-day naval exercise in the Strait Of Hormuz, a key oil shipping route.

Navy Commander Habibulah Sayari was quoted as saying on December 22 that the war game, named Velayat-90, will be carried out over an area extending from east of the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Aden.

He said the maneuvers will be carried out with the intention of what he described as "displaying the determination, defensive, and deterrent power of the Iranian armed forces, as well as relaying a message of peace and friendship in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and the free waters of the Indian Ocean."

More than one-third of the world's tanker oil is reported to pass through the narrow Strait Of Hormuz, which is along Iran's Gulf shore line.

The United States has deployed naval forces around the Gulf to ensure it remains open.

The Associated Press reports the drills could bring Iranian ships into proximity with U.S. Navy vessels in the area.

compiled from agency reports