The Iranian owned English media outlet, PressTV, announced yesterday that Terhan's "naval forces have launched the final stage of a large-scale drill north of the Indian Ocean to enhance their defense capabilities." Stratfor, a global intelligence news service noted that the exercise is in the same location as the US Navy's Fifth Fleet:
The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in the region and protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters. Last month, a U.S. Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they closed in at high speed.
Tehran has code named the operation Velayat 95. Velayat refers to a book authored by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini led the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and became the first "Supreme Leader" of the Islamic Republic. Velayat was Khomeini's manifesto, advocating advocating government run under sharia Islamic law. Its doctrine was incorporated into the country's new constitution that same year.
Naming the operation after Khomeini's book is a direct challenge to those Islamic countries, especially Saudi Arabia, that follow a competing expression of Islam called sunni. Velayat also indicates Iran's apocalyptic ambition to establish a regional and then global caliphate for governance under the rule an Islamic messianic figure called the Mahdi.
In spite of the name and what it implies, Iran's naval Commander, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the "aim of the Velayat 95 drill is to upgrade the country's defensive capabilities and send Iran's message of peace and friendship to the regional countries."
As reported by PressTV:
The exercises are being held in an area of 2 million square kilometers, spanning the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, north of the Indian Ocean and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.
Surface and subsea vessels and naval helicopters have been deployed in operational formations to carry out missions across the waters.
The drill also involves special forces stationed across the Makran coastal strip on the Sea of Oman to rehearse defending Iranian waters.
Additionally, reconnaissance patrol aircraft, hovercraft and drones are on the look-out, monitoring the movements of foreign troops.
Advanced radars, sonar systems and domestically-manufactured chaff dispensing systems used to distract radar-guided missiles are also being tested in the drill.
Sayyari characterized international concerns about Iran's purpose for its war game, "Iranophobia."