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Iran to launch two new ships, submarine

  • Story Highlights
  • Naval commander says all three vessels were made in his country
  • He repeats warning of Iran's ability to close Strait of Hormuz
  • U.S. has said it won't let Iran close strait, which is vital to oil transport
  • Iranian navy plans maneuvers in December in strait and in Sea of Oman
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From Shirzad Bozorgmehr
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's navy is planning to launch two new ships and a submarine later this week, the commander of the navy announced Sunday.

All three vessels were made in Iran, the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Cmdr. Habibolalh Sayyari as saying.

"On the occasion of Navy Day [November 27], two missile-carrying ships named Kalat and Derafsh, as well as a light submarine, will be launched," he said.

Sayyari repeated a long-standing Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a critical waterway, if Iran is threatened.

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"We have never said that we will close the Strait of Hormuz. What we did say was that we do have the capability to do so in the event of any aggression or attack," he said.

The United States has said it will not let Iran close the waterway, a vital link in shipping Middle Eastern oil to the world.

Sayyari told reporters that the Iranian navy is monitoring all the movements of foreign ships in the Sea of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

He also said that Iran is not planning on expanding its military presence in the Caspian Sea, but: "We have identified 20 percent of the Caspian as our area and will fully protect that area."

Sayyari added that the Iranian navy planned to hold naval maneuvers called "Unity 87" in early December in the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian and U.S. vessels have occasionally come in close contact in the region, escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington.

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