Iran war games: Boats destroy mock-up US ship

Updated 26 February 2015

Iran war games: Boats destroy mock-up US ship

BEIRUT: Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards staged war games in the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, including a gunboat attack on a model US warship, in Tehran’s latest display of military muscle in a Gulf shipping channel vital to world oil exports.
A ceremony marking the exercises was attended by commanders of the Guards, an influential military force led by anti-Western hawks, as well as by Parliament speaker Ali Larijani.
“With attention to the situation in the region, we have noticeably expanded the defense budget of the armed forces to ensure the stable security of the region,” Larijani told a news conference before the exercises, according to Fars News.
State TV footage showed a number of gunboats swarming a huge model warship and blasting it with missiles.
The “maquette of an American aircraft carrier” was built to scale and targeted with cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, according to Fars News, which is linked to the Revolutionary Guard.
The gunboats also carried out an exercise in laying mines, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency.
At one point a camera from state TV panned across a banner which read “If the Americans are ready to be buried at the bottom of the waters of the Gulf — so be it,” a quote from Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, as decision time looms for a nuclear deal with world powers, sought Wednesday to win the support of the religious community at the “backbone” of the Islamic republic.
“For the government and the people of Iran, Qom is not a city, but the symbol of religious life,” Rouhani said in a speech in the city of Qom.


Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

Updated 29 October 2020

Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

  • A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”

BEIRUT: Lebanese negotiators laid out their claim to maritime territory on Wednesday as they began a second round of talks with Israel over their disputed sea border.
The contested zone in the Mediterranean is an estimated 860 square kilometers known as Block 9, which is rich in oil and gas. Future negotiations will also tackle the countries’ land border.
Wednesday’s meeting took place at the headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) amid tight security. An assistant of the UN special coordinator for Lebanon chaired the session, and the US Ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, was the mediator.
A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”
The Lebanese delegation produced maps and documents to support their claim to the disputed waters.
In indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel in 2012, US diplomat Frederick Hoff proposed “a middle line for the maritime borders, whereby Lebanon would get 58 percent of the disputed area and Israel would be given the remaining 42 percent, which translates to 500 square kilometers for Lebanon and 300 square kilometers for Israel.”
On the eve of Wednesday’s meeting, Lebanese and Israeli officials met to discuss a framework to resolve the conflict through the implementation of UN Resolution 1701.
UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col praised the “constructive role that both parties played in calming tensions along the Blue Line” and stressed the necessity of “taking proactive measures and making a change in the prevailing dynamics regarding tension and escalation.”