The exercise will start Dec. 24 and cover a distance of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles), the news agency reported today on its website. State-run Press TV reported the maneuvers would extend east as far as the Indian Ocean. About 15.5 million barrels of oil a day, about a sixth of global consumption, flows through the waterway between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Sayari said Iran’s military has the capability to “control” the strait, according to a second Fars report. Whether it chooses to close the channel “depends on the decision of Iran’s higher officials,” he said. The naval drill will involve missiles and drone aircraft, Sayari said.
The plan emerged as the U.S. and European Union seek to raise pressure on Iran, the world’s No. 3 crude exporter in 2010, to abandon what they say is a nuclear weapons program. EU nations, the U.S. and Asia-Pacific allies discussed possible measures in Rome on Dec. 20, according to an Italian Foreign Ministry statement. EU foreign ministers are scheduled to meet next month to discuss possible sanctions on Iranian oil. Iran denies trying to develop nuclear weapons.