Iran is slated to conduct maritime drills involving as many as 100 gunships in the Persian Gulf in the upcoming 48 hours to simulate “swarm” tactics.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces, is touted to conduct the drills, which have the potential to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which nearly ten per cent of the world’s oil supplies are transported, two US officials were quoted by agencies as saying on Wednesday.
The swarm tactics are usually conducted by Iran during the fall season, however, due to the heightened tensions between the two countries as a result of the exchange of threats between US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the drills have been moved up the schedule.
Along with British and French warships, the guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans is in the Persian Gulf added with the 10 US patrol ships at the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet in Bahrain.
USS The Sullivans is part of the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier strike group, although the aircraft carrier is currently not present in the Gulf as it returned to Norfolk, Virginia after being deployed in the Gulf for three months.
The war of word between Trump and Iran saw the former direct Rouhani to “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN,” otherwise there will consequences, “THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”
In reply, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Trump to “be cautious”, saying that they have been around for millennia and have seen the fall of several empires, including their own, which lasted more than the life of some countries.
Trump had announced the US’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May, calling the accord as an “embarrassment” that was “defective at its core”, and warned of severe consequences if Iran resumed its nuclear programme.
However, on July 25, Trump stated that the US was ready to make a “real deal” with Iran, saying that Iran was not the same country as before.