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    Iranian forces launched military exercises in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as speculation over a possible Israeli or U.S. attack on its nuclear facilities grew, Iranian TV said.

    TEHRAN, July 8 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian forces launched military exercises in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as speculation over a possible Israeli or U.S. attack on its nuclear facilities grew, Iranian TV said.

    Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval and air units began live firing exercises of missile systems in order to "improve combat capability," according to state TV.

    The war-games come after the Israeli Air Force conducted military exercises involving over 100 Israeli fighters in early June. The exercises were widely seen as a 'dress rehearsal' for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

    Iran has reacted to rumors of an imminent attack by promising to deliver a "powerful blow" to any aggressor and vowing to block the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, cutting off the world's largest oil-exporting region.

    The commander of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, operating in the area, said last week it would not allow the Islamic Republic to block the Gulf.

    The U.S. Navy said in a statement on Monday it was holding an exercise in the Gulf to "practice the tactics and procedures of protecting maritime infrastructure such as gas and oil installations."

    Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment, which it says it needs purely for electricity generation. The U.S. and other Western states have claimed that the program is geared toward the creation of nuclear weapons.

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