September 18, 2012
DUBAI – Iran launched a submarine and a destroyer into the Gulf from Bandar Abbas port on Tuesday at the same time as US and allied navies held exercises in the same waters to practice keeping oil shipping lanes open.
Tehran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a route for oil exports from the Gulf, if Iranian nuclear sites are attacked by Israel, which believes Tehran is trying to develop an atomic bomb.
The United States, Britain, France and a number of Middle Eastern states are conducting a naval exercise in the Gulf this week, focusing on how to clear mines that Tehran or guerrilla groups might deploy to disrupt tanker traffic.
Iran’s refitted Tareq-901 submarine and Sahand destroyer were launched on the direct orders of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the official IRNA news agency reported.
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