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Iran's navy watching southern waters

Published By United Press International
TEHRAN, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Foreign military powers engaged in the northern waters of the Indian Ocean are upsetting the regional order, an Iranian naval commander said.

Iranian navy commander Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said Iran opposes the presence of foreign military powers off the country's southern coast.

The navy, he said, "does not accept" that some countries may be pursuing "illegitimate interests and disturb regional order" by deploying near the northern waters of the Indian Ocean, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reports.

Sayyari made no mention of which countries were interfering in regional order. Last week, Australia, India and Australia announced a partnership to serve as a bulwark against China's rising dominance in the region, the Times of India reports.

The U.S. military has embraced a policy that shifts its focus to the Asia-Pacific region as engagements in the Middle East wind down.

Tehran, meanwhile, is at odds with the Saudi government over maritime territory in the region.

Last month, Sayyari said "massive" naval drills were scheduled in Iran's southern waters starting Dec. 21. Those drills coincide roughly with scheduled talks between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog.
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Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa