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Iran begins new military maneuvers in Persian Gulf

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran has kicked off new war games and military maneuvers in the strategic Persian Gulf waters.

It's the country's second military show of force in less than a month.

The exercises reflect Iran's desire to flex its military muscle at a time of a deepening standoff with the West over Tehran's controversial nuclear program. The war games, held annually since 2006, also act as a warning, should U.S. or Israel consider a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

State TV reports that the new maneuvers are to last eight days in the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman and cover about 97,000 square miles of Iranian territorial waters.

The exercise comes as the Obama administration is lobbying hard at the U.N. Security Council for tougher punishment of Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

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