Iran holds military exercise near Afghan border

TEHRAN Sat Jan 7, 2012 8:52am EST

1 of 4. The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) responds to a distress call from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai, who claimed he was being held captive by pirates in the Arabian Sea, in this handout photo taken January 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/U.S. Navy photo/Handout

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran launched a military maneuver near its border with Afghanistan on Saturday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, days after naval exercises in the Gulf increased tensions with the West and pushed up oil prices.

Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the Revolutionary Guards' ground forces, said the "Martyrs of Unity" exercises near Khvat, 60 km (40 miles) from Afghanistan, were "aimed at boosting security along the Iranian borders," Fars reported.

The Revolutionary Guards' naval forces' 10-day exercise in the Gulf that ended last Monday worsened relations with Washington days after U.S. President Barack Obama approved sanctions that aim to stop countries buying Iranian oil.

Threats that Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz, which leads out of the Gulf and provides the outlet for most oil from the Middle East, pushed up oil prices and Iran warned Washington not to send an aircraft carrier back into the Gulf.

Forces with the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier strike group, the target of Tehran's threat, rescued 13 Iranian fishermen from Somali pirates days after passing through the Strait. [ID:nL6E8C6004]

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi played down the political significance of the rescue.

"On some occasions, Iran has helped and secured the released of many other countries' sailors that had been caught by pirates," he told state-run Press TV.

"This is a humanitarian gesture and it is not related to the countries' relations with each other."

(Reporting By Mitra Amiri; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Comments (35)
DominicPaz wrote:
So sick of the back and forth. The disingenuous negotiations by Iran. They are obviously working to get a weapon. That’s their prerogative if they want. But the rest of us don’t have to live with it. The only “rights” anyone has are ones that they can enforce physically. Everything else is just false security. If these persians think they have the “right” to get a nuke and use it as leverage to make the US and Europe bend to it’s will, then NATA should give them a reality check, and just blow there whole Navy out of the water in a 30 minute barrage. In fact, we should just take it further and bomb their defenses into oblivion from afar like we did to Iraq in the 90s. We don’t need to waste a bunch of money with nation building … just crush them and be done with it.

Jan 06, 2012 7:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Screed wrote:
Could this all get any more tiresome ?

Jan 06, 2012 8:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Logical123 wrote:
Obama is far worse than Bush. There is absolutely no valid reason for all this antagonism towards Iran. Consequently, there is no justification for any of these stupid sanctions. With all the real problems in the world, Obama and his neo-con advisors are obsessed with the non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons program just as Bush was obsessed with the Saddam Hussein weapons of mass destruction. However, it is still not clear if Obama really believes all this nonsense or he is merely lying. In either case, he has been one of the worst presidents in recent years as far as foreign policy is concerned.

Just to clarify the first two sentences of the previous paragraph, there is still zero evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons. The recent IAEA report on Iran was a pure work of fiction. It was based on documents that are known to be forgeries. Besides, all complaints were about events before 2004. Does anyone know that it is now 2012?

Jan 06, 2012 9:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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