The Iranian navy today announced the start of its annual naval drill near the Strait of Hormuz, a key international waterway. The two-day operation covers Iranian territorial waters in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean.
Despite being an annual drill, and seemingly no different from any of the past versions, there is some concern that it will be a source of tensions with the US, as it amounts to the first Iranian military drill since President Trump’s inauguration. President Trump has put Iran “on notice,” and officials have said they will not take military action off the table.
The drill also comes just two weeks after a joint US-UK drill called United Trident, held in roughly the same area, which ended with a feigned move toward Iranian waters. Iranian officials downplayed that incident, saying it wasn’t uncommon for those nations to make such shows of force.
Iran’s navy is small compared to nations like the US and UK, of course, and built primarily for defending their own territorial waters, with a focus on small attack craft and defensive vessels with shoreline support preventing incursions from larger warships, which have tended to be parked not far from the Iranian coast by nations like the US.