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Iran’s Navy Plans Persian Gulf Drills

Calling America’s military presence in the Persian Gulf “unjustifiable,” Iran’s navy commander said his forces will begin eight days of maneuvers Monday in the strategic waterway.

The Islamic Republic News Agency said the exercises coincide with the anniversary of the July 3, 1988, downing of an Iranian jetliner by a U.S. warship in the gulf, in which 290 people were killed.

The naval maneuvers, involving 58,000 forces, will take place in the northern part of the gulf, the agency quoted Adm. Ali Shamkhani as saying Saturday. He said forces would train in preparedness, combat, tactics and analysis, with each stage lasting two days.

Iran holds several dozen maritime exercises annually. The navy has 18,000 conscripts under joint command with the 20,000-member naval arm of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

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