Iran starts Gulf war games, to test submarine-launched missiles

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and other dignitaries attend the inauguration of new domestically built Fateh, or Conqueror in Persian, submarine in Bandar Abbas on Sunday, February 17. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
Updated 22 February 2019
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Iran starts Gulf war games, to test submarine-launched missiles

  • More than 100 vessels taking part in the three-day war games in an area stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean
  • Iran has expanded its missile program, particularly its ballistic missiles

DUBAI: Iran on Friday began large-scale naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf, which will feature its first submarine cruise missile launches, state media reported, at a time of rising tensions with the United States.
More than 100 vessels were taking part in the three-day war games in a vast area stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, the state news agency IRNA reported.
“The exercise will cover confronting a range of threats, testing weapons, and evaluating the readiness of equipment and personnel,” navy commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said in remarks carried by state television.
“Submarine missile launches will be carried out ... in addition to helicopter and drone launches from the deck of the Sahand destroyer,” Khanzadi said.
State media said Iran would be testing its new domestically built Fateh (Conqueror) submarine which is armed with cruise missiles and was launched last week.
Iranian officials in the past have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile US action, including attempts to halt Iranian oil exports through sanctions.
US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program last May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
Iran has expanded its missile program, particularly its ballistic missiles.
Iran launched its domestically made destroyer Sahand in December, which official say has radar-evading stealth properties.
The USS John C. Stennis entered the Gulf in December, ending a long absence of US aircraft carriers in the strategic waterway.
Iran displayed a new cruise surface-to-surface missile with a range of 1,300 kilometers earlier this month during celebrations marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Western experts say Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities, although there are concerns about its long-range ballistic missiles.


Egypt puts 145 people on terrorism list: judicial source

Updated 23 min 59 sec ago
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Egypt puts 145 people on terrorism list: judicial source

  • The defendants were accused of training militants and plotting violence in the country

CAIRO: An Egyptian court upheld Tuesday a decision to put 145 people, including staunch Muslim Brotherhood supporters, on the country’s “terrorism list,” a judicial source said.
The Court of Cassation rejected appeals against a ruling passed by a lower court in June last year.
The defendants were accused of training militants and plotting violence in the country, the source said.
The list includes senior Brotherhood figures, many of whom fled Egypt following the military ouster of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.
The Brotherhood was designated a “terrorist organization” months after Mursi’s overthrow.
Turkey-based TV hosts Moataz Matar and Mohamed Nasser, who both work for pro-Muslim Brotherhood channels, are among those on the list.
Matar has recently been in the crosshairs of the state after initiating online calls for protests against President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Hundreds have been added to Egypt’s terrorism list in recent years including Mursi himself.