US holds Navy exercise after Iran comments on Gulf

DUBAI, July 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy said on Monday it was carrying out an exercise in the Gulf, days after vowing that Iran will not be allowed to block the waterway which carries crude from the world’s largest oil-exporting region.

“The aim of Exercise Stake Net is to practise the tactics and procedures of protecting maritime infrastructure such as gas and oil installations,” Commodore Peter Hudson said in a U.S. Fifth Fleet statement.

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said in remarks published late last month that Tehran would impose controls on shipping in the Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormuz if it was attacked.

Speculation about a possible attack on Iran because of its nuclear programme has risen since a report last month said Israel had practised such a strike.

Vice-Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, the commander of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, said last week the United States would not allow Iran to block the Gulf.

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