DUBAI, Dec. 31 (AP) — Iran’s military tested a new type of attack Saturday off the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz as part of an ongoing annual exercise, state television reported. drone.
Meanwhile, anti-government protests that have lasted for more than three months continue. Videos on social media showed protests in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar and several towns, including in Kurdish regions.
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Part of a Tehran bazaar is closed after authorities cracked down on protests.
State television said the Ababil-5 attack drone was used for the first time in a war game and successfully hit its target with a bomb after flying 400 kilometers (250 miles). Over the past decade, Iran has tested many other military drones.
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Military drones have been a bone of contention between Iran and the United States and its allies, which claim Tehran is supplying Moscow with drones that have been used to attack Western-backed Ukraine.
In November, Iran admitted that it had supplied drones to Russia, adding that the supply came before Moscow launched the war in Ukraine. Iran says it is committed to ending the conflict.
The Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, is critical to global energy supplies, with about a fifth of all oil traded at sea passing through it.
Commandos and airborne infantry took part in the wargame known as Zolfaghar-1401, along with fighter jets, helicopters, military transport planes and submarines. The Iranian military will also launch missiles and air defense systems. Iran regularly holds such exercises to improve its defenses and test weapons.
Iran has been rocked by anti-government protests since mid-September sparked by the death of a woman detained by the country’s morality police. The demonstrations quickly escalated into calls for an end to more than four decades of clerical rule in the country.
More than 500 protesters have been killed and more than 18,500 arrested, according to Iranian human rights activists who have followed the unrest closely. Iranian authorities have not yet released the number of those killed or arrested. (Associated Press)
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