Iran holds drill near key strait, tests armed drones: report

A handout by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released on January 13, 2016 shows the new locally made drone called Saegheh (or Thunderbolt) displayed at an undisclosed location in Iran. (Iran’s Revolutionary Guards/AFP)
Updated 14 March 2019
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Iran holds drill near key strait, tests armed drones: report

  • It is the first time such a high number of offensive drones are being used in a drill
  • The drill comes as pressure mounts amid re-imposed US sanctions on Iran’s oil sector

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency says the country’s Revolutionary Guard is holding a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz to test dozens of Iranian-made drones, including armed drones.
Thursday’s report says it’s the first time such a high number of offensive drones are being used in a drill. It quotes Gen. Amir Ali Hajjizadeh of the Guard’s aerospace division as saying Iran has the region’s biggest offensive drone fleet.
It says the drones flew for about 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles, then hit their targets.
Iran in 2014 reverse-engineered a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 drone it captured three years earlier, producing a domestic version of the RQ-170, modified to carry out both bombing and reconnaissance missions.
The drill comes as pressure mounts amid re-imposed US sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.


US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

Updated 24 May 2019
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US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US will strengthen its force in the Middle East with 1,500 extra troops, Donald Trump said Friday as the Pentagon blamed Iran for an attack on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan. "We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.
"Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we'll see what happens."

Shortly after his comments, the Pentagon accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) of being directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the UAE earlier this month, describing it as part of a "campaign" by Tehran driving new US deployments.
"The attack against the shipping in Fujairah we attribute it to the IRGC," said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, adding the Pentagon attributed limpet mines used in the attack to the IRGC. He declined to describe "the means of delivery" of the mines.

The 1,500 extra troops will be made up of a deployment of 900 more forces, including engineers, and the extension of a tour by some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the force in the region.
Earlier this week, officials said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

*With AP and Reuters