Iran began air, land and sea military exercise

Iran state television says the military has begun a major exercise Thursday focused on security in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard

The deputy chief of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said Iranian forces are testing test weapon systems in the Strait of Hormuz, as well as intelligence and communication capabilities.

About 40 percent of the world’s oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz.

On Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman said U.S. strategy on Iran has not changed.  He said Washington hopes diplomacy and sanctions will halt Iran’s nuclear program but not rule out any option, including military action.

Spokesman Geoff Morrell was responding to comments by another U.S. defense official that a military strike on Iran was not an option in the near term.

A U.S. Defense Department report released Wednesday said Iran is working hard on its ballistic missile capability, and that it claims to have a new missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers.

The report also said Iran has improved the accuracy and payload capacity of its missiles, and estimates the country could have a missile capable of reaching the U.S. by 2015 if it gets foreign help.

The U.S. and its Western allies allege Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at developing atomic weapons, but Iran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.

Iran is under U.N. sanctions because of its refusal to stop enriching uranium, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

Source Voice of America

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