Britain, the US, France and Australia are holding maritime military exercises in the Persian Gulf as Iran warns that it will not allow any intrusion into its territorial waters. The three-day war games, dubbed the Unified Trident, started on Tuesday.
They involve British Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean and Type-45 destroyer HMS Daring, US warships USS Hopper and USS Mahan as well as French anti-aircraft frigate FS Forbin. Additionally, targeting Iranian combat jets, ships and coastal missile launching facilities will be simulated during the exercises, reports said.
“The exercise is intended to enhance mutual capabilities, improve tactical proficiency and strengthen partnerships” among the allies, a US Navy press release said.
Asked about the drills, Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told the Mehr news agency on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic would not allow anybody to encroach on its territorial waters, which he described as the country’s “red line.”
Touching on the simulation of hitting Iranian targets, Sayyari said that Iran “does not care about who’s doing what,” adding, “For us, it is important to boost our defense capabilities to such a level that we can withstand any threats [posed against us from] anywhere,” he added. Sayyari also noted that any exercises in high seas should comply with international law.
The Unified Trident drills come after a string of incidents, in which US vessels that sailed close to Iranian territorial waters were met with Iran’s befitting response. Iran has repeatedly warned that any act of transgression into Iran’s territorial waters would be met with an immediate and befitting response.
In January last year, Iran’s Navy arrested the crews of two US patrol boats that had trespassed on Iranian territorial waters. Iran released them after establishing that they had done so by mistake.
Islamic Republic has invariably asserted that it only uses its naval might for defensive purposes and to send across the Islamic Republic’s message of peace and security to other nations.
Source: News Agencies