Iran is holding a series of military drills in the Arab Gulf region as President Donald Trump’s term comes to an end.

Tehran launched a missile drill in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday, the third major drill by the regime in less than two weeks.

Iran’s naval activities are not limited to military drills. The regime is again resorting to extortion on the high seas. Last week, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) seized a South Korean oil tanker and detained 20 crew members to pressure Seoul to release financial assets frozen by U.S. sanctions.

In recent years, Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil transit chokepoint. Tehran has backed up those threats by attacking several Western-owned tankers and targeting Gulf Arab oil facilities.

The Associated Press reported Iran’s recent military activities:

Iran’s navy began a short-range missile drill in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday and inaugurated its largest military vessel, state TV reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and a U.S. pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic.

The two-day missile drill was being held in the gulf’s southeastern waters and two new Iranian-made warships joined the exercise: The missile-launching Zereh, or “armor,” and the country’s largest military ship the Makran, a logistics vessel with a helicopter pad named for a coastal region in southern Iran. (…)

In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills. On Saturday, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard held a naval parade in the Persian Gulf and a week earlier Iran held a massive drone maneuver across half the country. (…)

State TV said the 121,000-metric ton Makran is Iran’s largest military ship at 228 meters (748 feet) long, 42 meters (138 feet) wide and 21.5 meters (70 feet) tall. The Makran, a logistics ship that supports combat ships in the fleet, can travel for nearly three years without docking and carries information collection and processing gear.

The Iranian regime is also flexing its military muscle amid media reports of incoming Joe Biden’s administration willing to re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal.

Encouraged by the prospect of Obama-era policies returning, Iran in recent weeks has ramped up its nuclear program.

On January 2, Iran announced plans to enrich uranium up to 20 percent at an underground nuclear facility “as soon as possible.” The BBC called it the “most significant breach of an international nuclear deal so far.” The increased enrichment brings the regime closer to building a nuclear arsenal, media reports confirm.

Communist China, with which the Biden team reportedly opened backchannel talks in November, has also demanded the incoming Democratic administration rejoin the 2015 deal.

“The US shall return to the Iran nuclear deal as soon as possible and without any preconditions, and the US should also scrap all sanctions imposed on Iran, other third-party entities and individuals,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared in a recent video conference addressing top European Union officials and other four signatories of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The EU foreign ministers have also echoed Beijing’s sentiments, calling upon Biden to bring back the U.S. within the Iran deal’s folds without any pre-conditions. Such a move would mean an end or phase-out of sanctions on Iran placed by the Trump administration, further emboldening and strengthening the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism.

According to recently declassified U.S. intelligence, the Iranian regime hosts Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda on its soil.

“Al-Qaeda has a new home base: it is the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed on Tuesday.

The killing of Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, in a joint U.S.-Israeli covert operation near Tehran in mid-November, highlights the jihadi group’s penetration inside Iran. Maryam bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s daughter-in-law, who was being groomed for a leadership role in Al Qaeda, was also eliminated in the CIA-Mossad counter-terrorism raid.

Pompeo: Al-Qaeda’s ‘new home base’ is Iran

 

 
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