Iran’s military launched a short-range naval missile drill on Wednesday, Iranian state TV reported, at a time of high tension between arch foes Tehran and Washington.
The West sees Iran’s missiles both as a conventional military threat to regional stability and a possible delivery mechanism for nuclear weapons should Tehran develop them.
The Iranian-made warship Makran, which state media described as Iran’s biggest warship with a helicopter pad, and a missile-launching ship called Zereh (armor) were taking part 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 harsh sanctions to pressure Iran into negotiating stricter curbs on its nuclear program, ballistic missile development and support for regional proxy forces.
Last week, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards 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.
In early 2019, Iran heightened tensions in the world’s busiest oil waterway by seizing British-flagged tanker Stena Impero two weeks after a British warship had intercepted an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.