State-run media reported that Iran plans to hold its annual exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean. The exercises are held to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, according to Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
The state news agency, IRNA, said that Navy ships, submarines and helicopters will participate in the drills, which will reach across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and will showcase their skills along Iran’s southeastern coast.
The Bab el-Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz are waterways that run along the coasts of Yemen and Iran, by which millions of barrels of oil are transported to Europe, the US, and Asia every day. The shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters are protected by the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is based in the region.
A US Navy destroyer was forced to fire warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard near the Strait of Hormuz last month, after they closed in at high speed. The IRGC will not participate in the current war games.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s former President, sent a 3,500-word letter to US President Trump on Sunday, criticizing his travel ban, which affects seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
Ahmadinejad’s letter, which was published by Iranian media outlets, stated that Trump won the election while he “truthfully described the US political system and electoral structure as corrupt”. He also decried US “dominance” over the United Nations, as well as America’s “meddling” in the world, bringing “insecurity, war, division, killing and (the) displacement of nations”.
Acknowledging the 1,000,000 people of Iranian descent living in America, Ahmadinejad said that US policies should “value respect toward the diversity of nations and races”. He wrote, “In other words, the contemporary US belongs to all nations, including the natives of the land. No one may consider themselves the owner and view others as guests or immigrants.”
Unpopular in the US, as well, Trump’s travel ban was blocked by a judge, and US Appeals Court refused to reinstate it. However, Trump promised to issue a revised order soon, saying it’s necessary to keep America safe.