Next week, the United States and 30 other nations will launch an anti-mine naval exercise in the Persian Gulf, an operation that will last for at least two weeks. It is designed around dealing with anti-ship mine deployments in combat.
Naval officials say that the exercise isn’t about any specific threat, but are also describing it as the single largest naval operation ever held in the Middle East, and while it covers a broad area it is centered off the coast of Iran.
The US has had a number of warships deployed off the Iranian coast to go along with its repeated threats to attack Iran over its civilian nuclear program. Iran has focused its naval defenses on an arsenal of anti-ship mines as well as speedboats.
Naval mines have not been a significant military hazard since the end of World War 2, though the US and some other nations have kept arsenals of the devices in case a significant naval battle did break out. The operation seems primarily about having a large number of ships near Iran for photo ops, and not about practical threats.