Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on Wednesday that his forces are preparing to conduct a series of exercises in Northern Indian Ocean in coming months.
Speaking to FNA in the Northern city of Rasht today, Admiral Sayyari said the drills codenamed ‘Velayat 93’ will be staged in free waters in the Northern parts of the Indian Ocean and Iran’s territorial waters.
“The Navy exercises will be part of the annual drills staged by the naval forces to promote their capabilities,” he said.
In recent years, Iran’s Navy has been increasing its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for trade vessels and tankers.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly asserted that its overseas naval presence is meant to convey a message of peace and friendship to the other countries. Iranian officials and commanders have also underlined on various occasions that all military exercises and trainings of the Iranian Armed Forces are merely meant to serve deterrent purposes.
The Iranian navy has recently staged two sets of joint exercises with Pakistan and Oman naval forces.
Velayat wargames are the annual exercises conducted by the Iranian Army’s naval forces each year. Last year, the drills were conducted in the second half of the Iranian year (September, 2013-March, 2014) and were codenamed Velayat 2.
Different units, including surface, subsurface, air and airborne units, participated in the drills.
And almost a year before Velayat 2, the Iranian Navy finished 6 days of massive naval exercises, codenamed Velayat 91, in the country’s Southern waters in January 2013.
The naval drills were carried out in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, North of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.
During the exercises, the Navy test-fired various types of long-range missiles from coasts and navy vessels.
Different types of short and long-range coast-to-sea, surface-to-surface, surface-to-air missiles were also tested by Iranian troops and vessels. Iranian submarines also launched smart torpedoes during the drills.
Iran’s naval power has even been acknowledged by foes. In a Sep. 11, 2008 report, the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy said that in the two decades since the Iraqi imposed war on Iran, the Islamic Republic has excelled in naval capabilities and is able to wage unique asymmetric warfare against larger naval forces.
According to the report, Iran’s Navy has been transformed into a highly motivated, well-equipped, and well-financed force and is effectively in control of the world’s oil lifeline, the Strait of Hormuz.
The study said that if Washington takes military action against the Islamic Republic, the scale of Iran’s response would likely be proportional to the scale of the damage inflicted on Iranian assets.