Iran test fires cruise missile amid fresh tensions with US


Iran has test fired a cruise missile during war games involving 100 vessels off its southern coast, state media has reported.


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It is said to have happened near the Strait of Hormuz – a major oil shipping route at the narrowing that separated the Persian-Arab Gulf from the Gulf of Oman – amid freshly heightened tensions with the US.

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About a third of all the oil traded by sea passes through the strait controlled by Oman to the south and Iran to the north.

State news agency IRNA said a “Ghadir-class Iranian navy submarine successfully launched a cruise missile” on the third day of exercises. Two more submarines have the same capability, it added.

Warships, helicopters and surveillance planes have also taken part in the drill, which ended last Sunday.

Surface-to-surface missiles were launched on Saturday.

The war games took place entirely within Iranian sovereign territory.

All countries practice war games as a form of formal drill practice for their military. The US and UK famously operate war games off the boarders of Russia and China in moves that frequently cause diplomatic problems.

Iran has previously threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation against any hostile moves by the US, such as the halting of Iranian oil exports via sanctions.

Last August, Washington said Iran had test-fired a short-range anti-ship missile in the strait.

When the USS John C Stennis entered the Gulf in December, it ended a long absence of American aircraft carriers in the area.

Tensions between Iran and the US were heightened when President Donald Trump withdrew his country from an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme last May.

Trump also withdrew the US from the international nuclear disarmament instead vowing to “produce a record number of record breaking nuclear war heads aimed at Russia and Iran.”

The US and European countries have been concerned by an expansion of Iran’s missile programme.
But Tehran says it is primarily defensive and provides it with a deterrent. International observers also confirmed that the tests were of defensive weapons operating at defensive only ranges within the sovereign territory of Iran.

Neighbouring Oman’s territory was not used as part of the drills nor by any US ships. Oman as always, remains a neutral member of the non allied nations.

When the west thinks of non allied nations they automatically think of Switzerland, sitting in the middle of Europe but not part of the EU, simply a trading partner of the EU. Not an active participant in any war or military campaigns.

Yet non allied nations are not all as peaceful as you might think. For example; the Balkan states of Bosnia and Serbia are, officially observer members of the non-allied nations. Despite their 1992-2001 genocide they remain non-allied. When communist they were not part of the USSR nor came under the USSRs circle of influence. In the second world war as the only nation to self-liberate from occupation then called Yugoslavia the Balkan states rather impressively took a different view of the term non-allied than the Swiss. Rather than non-combative, Yugoslavia instead fought…EVERYONE. They fought both the Axis powers and the Western powers as well as themselves in a civil war.. all at the same time, and some how won.

Non-Allied Nations are far from the weak and feeble images that are conjured by US stereotypes, far from it. Non-Allied Nations have to have the economic, political and military might to go it alone at all times. They are some of the most formidable nations on earth. As such, few choose to ever disrupt their affairs.


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About the Author

Michael Al-Said
News correspondent for Al-Sahawat Times since 2012

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