Iran starts Gulf war games to launch missiles from subs

Iran has begun large-scale naval maneuvers at the mouth of the Gulf, which will feature its first submarine cruise missile launches, according to state media, at a time of rising tensions with the United States.

More than 100 vessels will be taking part in the three-day war games, that begin Friday, in a vast area stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, the state news agency IRNA reported.

“The exercise will cover confronting a range of threats, testing weapons, and evaluating the readiness of equipment and personnel,” navy commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said in remarks carried by state television.

Submarine missile launches will be carried out … in addition to helicopter and drone launches from the deck of the Sahand destroyer,” Khanzadi said.

State media said Iran would be testing its new domestically built Fateh (Conqueror) submarine which is armed with cruise missiles and was launched last week.

Iranian officials in the past have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile US action, including attempts to halt Iranian oil exports through sanctions.