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Iran launches submarine as US navy drills in Gulf

Published on Sep 18, 2012 10:05 PM

DUBAI (REUTERS) - Iran launched a submarine and a destroyer into the Gulf from Bandar Abbas port on Tuesday at the same time as United States (US) and allied navies held exercises in the same waters to practice keeping oil shipping lanes open.

Teheran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a route for oil exports from the Gulf, if Iranian nuclear sites are attacked by Israel, which believes Teheran is trying to develop an atomic bomb.

The US, Britain, France and a number of Middle Eastern states are conducting a naval exercise in the Gulf this week, focusing on how to clear mines that Teheran or guerilla groups might deploy to disrupt tanker traffic.

Iran's refitted Tareq-901 submarine and Sahand destroyer were launched on the direct orders of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the official Islamic Republic News Agency news agency reported.

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