Navies from over 40 countries led by the United States have come together in Bahrain for the second phase of a major military exercise in the Persian Gulf.
The United States and its allies began the first phase of the joint military exercise, the so-called International Mine Countermeasures Exercise, in the Persian Gulf on May 6. The second phase of the drill will kick off on May 13 and will last for two weeks.
The drill is hosted by the US Navyâ€™s 5th Fleet in Bahrain and includes oil spill response, shipping escort and protecting offshore terminals, in addition to minesweeping and flying drones.
The US naval command in Bahrain said in a statement that the maneuver â€œis the largest exercise of its kind in the region and will exercise a wide spectrum of defensive operations designed to protect international commerce and trade; mine countermeasures, maritime security operations and maritime infrastructure protection.â€
The three-phase drill includes 35 ships, 18 Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) and more than 100 explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) divers, according to the US Navy.
On May 7, Iranâ€™s former Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast warned the US and other foreign forces conducting the military exercise in the Persian Gulf that â€œany move in the area will be monitored by Iranâ€™s defense forces.â€
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari has also stated that arrogant countries have endangered regional security by conducting various maneuvers in the Persian Gulf.
The naval maneuver is the second US-led military exercise in the region in less than a year.