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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Iran. Air Force exercises have begun. Increased presence of US aviation in the region

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Iran began its annual air force exercise on Sunday, the Associated Press reported, citing media in Tehran. This year’s edition of the exercise coincided with the greater presence of the US Air Force in the Persian Gulf region.

Iranian authorities said more than 90 fighters, bombers and drones from 11 air bases will take part in the exercises.

Air force commander Iran General Hamid Wahedi said that “the message of the exercise is friendship, peace and security in the region, as well as the promotion of regional ties, peaceful coexistence and the defense of air borders.” According to the AP agency, the Iranian government organizes such exercises on a regular basis, saying they are aimed at assessing the combat readiness of the armed forces and demonstrating the country’s military potential.

Additional American fighters and a ship

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Exercise follows after United States last week reported that they are sending additional fighter jets and a warship to the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman for increased security following Iranian attempts to seize merchant ships.

Iranian vessels tried in July to seize two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, where 20 percent of the world’s oil is transported. One of the tankers was flagged to the Marshall Islands and the other to the Bahamas, the AP wrote. Iranian vessels were about to open fire on one of them, but withdrew when the American destroyer USS McFaul moved towards them.

Anti-ship missile launcher, IranSalamPix/ABACA/Abaca/PAP/EPA

US Naval Command says Iran has seized at least five merchant ships in the past two years and has been troubling more than a dozen others. Most of these incidents occurred in and around the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian authorities deny the accusations, saying they seized the ships after they collided with other vessels and polluted the waters.

The Associated Press reminds that tensions between Iran and the US have been growing since his presidency Donald Trump The United States unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 deal between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program and reinstated sanctions on the country. In response, Iran has stepped up its uranium enrichment work and, moreover, is supplying Russia drones that the Russian military uses to attack Ukrainian targets.

Main photo source: SalamPix/ABACA/Abaca/PAP/EPA

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