Iran held joint naval, air and ground exercises in the Persian Gulf near the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway on Friday, state media reported.

Iranian Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told the official IRNA news agency that in the exercises, submarines and drones “practice intelligence gathering operations against the attacking forces, as well as reconnaissance operations.”

The exercises, codenamed Zolfaghar-1401, began late Friday on the eastern side of the strait, in the Gulf of Oman.

Tehran, which opposes the presence of US and Western navies in the area, annually holds military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 30% of all crude oil traded by sea circulates.

Sayyari said foreign forces must leave the area “so that countries in the region can establish stability and peace in their neighbourhood,” state English-language Press TV reported.

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