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Iran Tests Missiles,US Nuke Sub Watches01/15 07:03


   DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Iran fired cruise missiles Thursday as 
part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, state media reported, under 
surveillance of what appeared to be a U.S. nuclear submarine dispatched to the 
region amid heightened tensions between the countries.

   Helicopter footage of the exercise released by Iran's navy showed what 
resembled an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, the USS Georgia, which the 
U.S. Navy last month said had been sent to the Persian Gulf --- a rare 
announcement aimed at underscoring American military might in the region.

   Iran's navy did not identify the submarine, but warned the boat to steer 
clear of the area, where missiles were being launched from land units and ships 
in the gulf and the northern part of the Indian Ocean. When asked for comment 
on the reported submarine sighting, Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for 
the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, responded: "We don't talk about 
submarine operations."

   Later Thursday, Iran's state-run media claimed that a "foreign" vessel had 
"intended to approach the naval drill" and departed soon after the Iranian 
Navy's warning, without elaborating.

   The two-day drill began on Wednesday with the unveiling of the largest 
vessel in the Iranian Navy, the latest in a series of Iranian military 
exercises during the waning days of the administration of U.S. President Donald 
Trump. Over the weekend, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard held a naval 
parade in the Persian Gulf shortly after seizing a South Korean tanker in the 
crucial Strait of Hormuz. Last week, Iran deployed unmanned aircraft to stage a 
large-scale drone maneuver across half the country.

   Iran's state TV broadcast footage of the missile launches on Thursday but 
didn't provide their range or other details. In July, Iran said it test-fired 
cruise missiles with a range of some 280 kilometers (some 275 miles).

   "Enemies should know that any violation and invasion of Iranian marine 
borders will be targeted by the cruise missiles from both coast and sea," said 
Adm. Hamzeh Ali Kaviani, the spokesman for Thursdays' exercise.

   Tensions are rising as Iran ramps up pressure on the West over the Trump 
administration's sanctions campaign against the Islamic Republic.

   Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. in 2018 from Iran's nuclear deal, in 
which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the 
lifting of economic sanctions. Trump cited Iran's ballistic missile program 
among other issues in withdrawing.

   Following the re-imposition of unprecedented American sanctions on Iran, 
Tehran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal's limits on its nuclear 
development as a series of escalating incidents pushed the two countries to the 
brink of war at the beginning of last year.

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