Week-long drill to include naval ships, submarines, missile tests; Zarif: IDF strikes in Syria are adventurism on Israel’s side, and adventurism is always dangerous.

Iran launched a large-scale navy drill in the Persian Gulf on Thursday.

Iranian Navy Admiral Hossein Khanzadi confirmed the “Velayat-97” war-games to the press on Thursday morning. He reported that war-games and drills would be performed over a week in the Strait of Hormuz, the Oman Sea and north of the Indian Ocean and focus on combatting “external threats” with Iran’s advanced missile and naval capabilities. 

The events will include missile tests, naval warships, advanced technology, submarines, helicopters and radar and surveillance equipment. Iran will also test its Fateh (Conqueror) submarine, capable of firing cruise missiles. The Iranian made, semi-heavy submarine was unveiled shortly after celebrations and demonstrations as part of Iran’s commemoration of 40 years since the Islamic Revolution. Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami confirmed earlier this week that the submarine is capable of launching torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.

Last December, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to block oil ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz in response to US sanctions placed under the Trump Administration on its oil industry. At the time, Iran sent naval task forces to the north of the Indian Ocean and Aden Bay. Rouhani threatened the United States against blocking oil imports, stating “America should know that we are selling our oil and will continue to sell our oil and they are not able to stop our oil exports. If someday they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf.”

Meanwhile, in an interview with Germany’s newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung this week, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif referred to Israel’s strikes in Syria as “adventurism on Israel’s side, and adventurism is always dangerous.” The Iranian minister, as in the majority of interviews and public addresses, attacked both Israel and the United States, criticizing the Trump Administration over plans for a possible sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, mainly a deal for nuclear power plants, while the US continues its efforts against the Iranian nuclear deal. 

He additionally accused Israel of “looking for war” with Iran and Syria, and called on the international community to confront Israel’s violations of international law, claiming, “The risk of war is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law.”

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