Iran starts naval drills in Persian Gulf: report

Iran starts naval drills in Persian Gulf: report
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American officials believe that Iran has started its annual naval drills in the Persian Gulf early amid tensions with the U.S., Reuters reported on Thursday.

The exercises reportedly began one day after U.S. Central Command said Iran was preparing a massive military exercise in the region.

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“We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways,” Navy Captain Bill Urban, the chief spokesman at Central Command, said Wednesday.

The office, which oversees forces in the Middle East, did not update its guidance for Thursday, according to Reuters.

Officials told the wire service that the military exercise appears to be an attempt to send a message to the U.S. following President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.

Trump announced the U.S. was leaving the agreement in May. The pact had lifted sanctions against the nation in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

The U.S. has also moved to convince other countries to stop importing Iranian oil.

Iran has hit back, indicating that it could shutter the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping lane, warning that interrupting Iran's oil exports could threaten exports from other countries in the region.