Saudi Arabia’s “Gulf Shield 1 Exercise” war games live fire drill in the Persian Gulf was met with a stern warning from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy to steer clear of Iranian waters as well as international waters near Iran.
According to a statement from the IRGC Navy, it’s their position that Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Shield 1 Exercise is a clear example of escalating tensions between the two countries and undermining the security in the Persian Gulf. According to the Saudi Gazette, Gulf Shield 1 Exercise begun with naval ships, aircraft, marines and special security naval units in the Strait of Hormuz.
The commander of Gulf Shield 1 Exercise, Navy Brigadier General Majed al-Qahtani, sad this is the largest maneuvers exercise conducted by the Eastern Fleet of the Saudi Royal Naval Forces,
“The exercises include shooting of live ammunition as part of the efforts to improve combat readiness and protect the Kingdom’s waters and marine interests against any possible aggression.”
Iran maintains that it is fully prepared to ensure sustainable security in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz and will confront any move by Saudi Arabia’s military if it “disturbs the peace and security” in the area.
Given the fact that the IRGC Navy has tried to engage ships of the US Navy’s 5fth Fleet several times over the last months, there is a strong possibility that Iran will engage Saudi Arabian vessels over a perceived threat (in February, Iran threatened the US over the use of the Strait of Hormuz; attempted to intercept the USS New Orleans with the CENTCOM commander on board; harassed and intercepted the destroyer, US Nitze that resulted in warning shots being fired)