Commander: Iran navy exercise a message to US on sanctions


WASHINGTON (AP) – The top U.S. commander in the Middle East says an Iranian naval exercise involving at least 100 small boats in and around the Strait of Hormuz last week was meant as a message to the U.S. for re-imposing economic sanctions on Tehran.

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, tells reporters that Iran was showcasing its military capabilities, amid threats by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to close off the strait.

Votel says Iran has the ability to plant mines and explosive boats in the highly traveled waterway. But he says the U.S. and allies train for that possibility and are prepared.

The sanctions were lifted for the nuclear deal, but the U.S. withdrew from the deal, saying it was too generous. The sanctions were restarted Tuesday.