Iran to Hold Annual Persian Gulf Drills with 200 Frigates, Speedboats

DUBAI, Sept 18 (Reuters) Iran will hold its annual military parade on Sept. 22 in the Persian Gulf with 200 frigates and speedboats, the semi-official Iran Front Page website reported on Wednesday, at a time of soaring tension between Tehran and Washington.

The parade will mark the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, the IFP said. The semi-official Fars news agency said it would be a joint manoeuvre with the participation of regular army and elite Revolutionary Guards’ naval forces.

“Over 200 vessels of naval forces of the army, the coast guards and the Revolutionary Guards will take part in the parade,” Fars quoted Admiral Mojtaba Mohammadi as saying.

On Sept. 22 last year, 12 Guards members were among 25 people killed when gunmen fired on a viewing stand as military officials watched a ceremony in the southern city of Ahvaz marking the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a major increase in sanctions on Iran on Wednesday as Saudi Arabia displayed remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in an attack on its oil sites “unquestionably sponsored” by Tehran. Iran again denied involvement in the Sept. 14 raids.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Mark Heinrich)