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Originally published Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 6:57 AM

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Report: Iran plans Hormuz Strait naval maneuvers

Iran is planning naval maneuvers in international waters near strategic Strait of Hormuz, where one-fifth of world oil supply passes, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.

The Associated Press

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TEHRAN, Iran —

Iran is planning naval maneuvers in international waters near strategic Strait of Hormuz, where one-fifth of world oil supply passes, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.

The report quoted Iran's navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, as saying the maneuvers will begin Friday from the Strait of Hormuz to the northern part of Indian Ocean in an area of about 1 million square kilometers (400,000 square miles).

Iran in the past threatened to close the strait over Western sanctions aimed at its suspect nuclear program but has not repeated the threat lately.

Sayyari said Iran will test-fire missiles and deploy vessels and submarines during the six-day war games.

The semi-official Fars news agency reported that navy of the powerful Revolutionary Guards began a limited naval drill Tuesday in central part of the Persian Gulf.

It said the four-day maneuver is meant to test and assess its forces and includes missile firing, the report said.

Iran regularly holds military exercises to test and upgrade its military equipment as well as to boost its regional military standing.

The latest drills come as the West increases its pressure over Iran's nuclear program. The West suspects Iran may be aiming to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran denies the charge, insisting its nuclear activities have peaceful purposes like power generation and cancer treatment.

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