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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Iran launches air force exercise in Persian Gulf

TEHRAN, Iran (AP): Iranian state radio says the country has launched air force maneuvers in its airspace over the Persian Gulf.

The drill is a show of strength at a time of domestic turmoil over the country's disputed presidential election.

The report says the three-day Air Force exercise, which began Monday, will use both Russian-made Sukhoi and Iranian-made Saegheh jet fighters.

It says the jets will fly in Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf and the adjoining Gulf of Oman _ the passageway for about 40 percent of the world's crude.

Iran showcased the Saegheh in 2006, claiming it is similar to but more powerful than the American F-18.

The radio quotes Gen. Hossein Chitforoosh as saying the drill seeks to improve the air force's operational capability.

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