TEHRAN - On the seventh day of Iran's major naval drills in its southern waters on Friday, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that it is not the Islamic Republic's intention to close the Strait of Hormuz, the local satellite Press TV reported Friday.
Although Iran could readily close the Strait of Hormuz, Iran's intention is not to close it, Sayyari said.
"Our intention is to bring stability and security to the region and we would like to show everyone that we can provide the security for the region without resorting to powers from outside," the Iranian commander was quoted as saying.
Sayyari said the presence of foreign navies in the region causes regional insecurity, emphasizing that Iran does not need the presence of non-regional powers, according to the report.
The US Department of Defense on Wednesday warned Iran against any attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the world's most important oil passage.
"This is not just an important issue for security and stability in the region, but is an economic lifeline for countries in the Gulf, including Iran," Pentagon press secretary George Little said. "Interference with the transit or passage of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated."
Little's remarks came after Iran's top officials threatened to seal off the important oil passage. Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said Tuesday that Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz if the West imposes sanctions on its oil exports.
Sayyari echoed the vice president's remarks on Wednesday, saying that the country's naval forces could readily block the oil route if needed.
In a separate statement, the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet said Wednesday that "anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations. Any disruption will not be tolerated."
Last Saturday, the Iranian navy launched a 10-day exercise, dubbed Velayat 90, which covers a length of 2,000 km stretching from the east of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden.
On the seventh day of major naval drills in the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Friday, naval forces performed special heliborne operations, Press TV reported.
Deputy commander of Iran's Navy Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Mousavi said that Friday's exercises include attacks on predetermined targets at sea as well as tactical shootings at mock enemy targets, using different classes of speed boats.
Marine commandos also conducted free-fall parachute jumps from helicopters, said the report.
Also, the Iranian Navy's rocket-launching frigates and artillery units joined the country's wargames in the Sea of Oman and Persian Gulf on Friday, said the local semi-official Fars news agency.
On Friday, the rocket-launching frigates and speedboats and coastal defense artillery units of the Iranian Navy staged wide- scale fire on hypothetical enemy vessels, said Fars.
The Azarakhsh speedboats equipped with 107 mm rocket launchers and various coastal defense units quipped with various types of artillery units could destroy the enemy vessels which had penetrated the country's waters in the Sea of Oman off the Iranian coasts in the Southeast.
Mousavi said Friday that Iran's Navy will fire various home- made missiles during the naval drills in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Press TV reported.
Mousavi, was quoted as telling reporters Friday that the country's naval units will fire different long- and short-range land-to-sea, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles during the power phase of the exercises, starting Saturday.
Besides, Iran's submarines will also hit the pre-determined targets, using domestically-manufactured torpedoes, during the power phase of the drills.
Mousavi, also the spokesman for the drills, added that naval forces will also fire shoulder-launched missiles and hit mock targets of the enemy, said Press TV.