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Large Countermine Exercise Starts in Persian Gulf

Large Countermine Exercise Starts in Persian Gulf 18.09.2012
Text: Lenta.ru
Photo: navy.mil
The largest-ever minesweeping exercise in the Middle East IMCMEX-2012B started on Sept 16 in the Persian Gulf. According to the US Navy website, the exercise is attended by warships from over than 30 countries including the US, France, Great Britain, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

American media reports that the 12-day long exercise would take place in the Red and Arabian seas, the Gulf of Oman and some regions of the Indian Ocean. Great emphasis will be put on countermine drills in the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, and the Bab el Mandeb Strait, reports US Navy press service. In its turn, Bloomberg reported that the exercise would not touch waters of the mentioned region in order to avoid provocation of Iran.

US Navy gives no details about participants. As is known, United States is represented by amphibious transport dock USS Ponce and Avenger-class minesweepers. Besides, two American aircraft carriers are deployed nearby the exercise area in the Persian Gulf, namely USS Enterprise and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Earlier on, Iran many times threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz used for strategic oil traffic. As for The Times, about 18 mln barrels of oil is daily transported to the West which is one fifth of worldwide sold oil. Tehran considers blockade of the strait a rightful response upon sanctions imposed against the islamic republic late 2011 by the US and allies to make Tehran waive its nuclear program.

On the exercise opening day, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps General Ali Jafari declared that in case of being attacked, Tehran would deliver retaliation strike upon Israel and American military bases deployed in the region (Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia). Once Israel ventures upon missile attack, nothing would remain of that country, added the general.

In its turn, Jerusalem inclines to preventive strike upon Iran saying it develops nuclear program which may threaten to Israel and regional security. Israel tries to enlist support of the US regarding bombardment of Iran's nuclear centers. However, Washington considers the sanctions are sufficient to press on Tehran.

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