Iran's navy has begun a three day war game exercise on Friday in the Persian Gulf, in an expansive area encompassing Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, to the Sea of Oman and even stretching to northern parts of the Indian Ocean, state media reports. Some reports indicate the games could go on for as much as a week, but all emphasized the "large-scale" nature of the drills in which Iran's navy will showcase the Fateh-class submarine — a domestically built sub carrying cruise missiles and torpedoes, as well as its Sahand destroyer.
The cruise missile-firing capable Fateh, or "Conqueror", was launched for the first time at the start of this week and has been touted as "state-of-the-art" and with the ability to stay underwater for five weeks at a time. Crucially, the large exercises come after last week's US-sponsored Warsaw conference in which both Israeli and US officials made threats of war with Tehran. Indeed during the conference Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu openly stated that he was attending the summit with an aim to "advance the common interest of war with Iran."
Iran's drills in the coming days will further involve battleship exercises and amphibious and anti-amphibious warfare maneuvers, according to Iranian military statements.
As the Jerusalem Post summarizes of this concern, "In Yemen Iran has supported the Houthi rebels who have used Iranian technology to target Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles." And recently, "In addition Oman enjoys decent relations with Iran but Oman also hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year and has sought to play a role in the Israel-Palestinian peace efforts."
In the past, Iranian war games have resulted in close encounters with US warships traversing parts of the Persian Gulf. But this somewhat "routine" occurrence could potentially spark a major incident considering the high level of aggressive rhetoric coming out of Washington at this time.