Iran naval drills designed to send message to US: general

In this June 30, 2018 photo, released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, who heads the elite Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard attends a graduation ceremony of a group of the guard's officers in Tehran, Iran. (AP)
Updated 09 August 2018
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Iran naval drills designed to send message to US: general

  • The sanctions imposed on Tehran this week have already led banks and many companies around the world to scale back dealings with Iran
  • Trump responded by noting that Iran could face serious consequences if it threatened the United States

WASHINGTON: The general overseeing US military operations in the Middle East said Wednesday that an Iranian naval exercise around the Strait of Hormuz was meant to send a message to Washington before it reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
Iran launched the exercise in the Gulf last week, sending dozens of small attack boats out into the Strait of Hormuz — a vital, oil-shipping waterway that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last month threatened to shut down.
“It’s pretty clear to us that they were trying to use that exercise to send a message to us that as we approach the period of the sanctions here that they had some capabilities,” US Central Command head General Joseph Votel told Pentagon reporters.
The capabilities include ocean mines, explosive boats, coastal defense missiles and radars, he said.
Votel said he saw Qassem Soleimani, who heads the external operations Quds Force for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, as being responsible for the exercise.
“He is an individual who is perpetrating a lot of this destabilizing activity,” Votel said.
“Wherever you see Iranian activity, you see Qassem Soleimani.”
The United States on Tuesday reimposed sanctions on Iran, after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Tehran.


Libya confirms it rescued 87 migrants in Mediterranean

Updated 23 min 35 sec ago
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Libya confirms it rescued 87 migrants in Mediterranean

  • Friday’s statement from the navy says the Libyan coast guards found a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday
  • It says the migrants — Arab and African nationals — were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid

CAIRO: Libya’s navy has confirmed it rescued 87 Europe-bound migrants, including six women and a child, off the country’s Mediterranean coast, following a video released by a German aid group about the disaster.
Friday’s statement from the navy says the Libyan coast guards found a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday, leaving most migrants in the water and hanging onto what was left of the boat and plastic barrels.
It says the migrants — Arab and African nationals — were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid.
Earlier, German group Sea-Watch said its aircraft had filmed three rescue operations by Libyan coast guards on Thursday.
Humanitarian groups object to returning migrants to lawless Libya, citing reports of abuse, beatings and other inhuman treatment.