DUBAI Jan 1 Iran has warned off foreign
surveillance planes that have tried to approach its forces
during naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz, an Iranian military
spokesman said on Tuesday.
The drills, which began on Friday, are aimed at showcasing
Iran's military capability in the shipping route through which
40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil exports pass.
Iran has threatened to block the strait if it comes under
military attack over its disputed nuclear programme. The United
States has said it would not tolerate any obstruction of
commercial traffic through the strait.
"So far about 30 warnings have been given to reconnaissance
and surveillance planes of extra-regional forces that wanted to
approach the area where the drills are taking place," Commander
Amir Rastegari told the semi-official Mehr news agency.
He said the planes had been warned to keep out of Iranian
air space and away from the site of the exercises.
The official IRNA news agency quoted Rastegari as saying the
foreign planes kept away after Iran issued warnings because they
were "afraid of being destroyed" by Iranian forces.
Six days of drills are taking place in an area of about 1
million sq km in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman and
northern parts of the Indian Ocean.
State television reported that naval forces had successfully
test fired Qader (Capable) coast-to-sea and Nour (Light)
Rastegari was quoted as saying by Iran's English-language
Press TV that the Qader cruise missile with a range of 200 km
had "successfully and precisely hit and destroyed its mock enemy
On Sunday, Iran said its special forces and diving units had
drilled defending ports and the coastline against attack.
Iran held a similar 10-day drill in December 2011 and sent a
submarine and a destroyer into the Gulf four months ago just as
U.S. and allied navies were conducting exercises in the same
waters to practice keeping oil shipping lanes open.
Israel has threatened to launch military strikes against
Iran's nuclear programme which many in the West fear is aimed at
developing a nuclear weapons capability. Iran says it is only
interested in generating electricity and other peaceful
Iran holds military exercises several times a year and
regularly unveils advances in domestically-produced military
hardware. Defence analysts say Iran often exaggerates its