TEHRAN: Iran has deployed one of its Russian-made submarines after it was overhauled earlier this year.
The semi-official Fars news agency says Taregh-1 joined the naval fleet in the southern port of Bandar Abbas. It's one of three Russian Kilo class submarines that Iran obtained in early 1990s.
Tehran has tried to build a self-sufficient military program since 1992 and has several smaller Iranian-built submarines.
Tuesday's announcement comes as U.S.-led naval exercises are under way in the Persian Gulf. The drill is seen as a response to Iranian warnings earlier this year it could close the strategic oil route in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for tighter Western sanctions. Tehran later withdrew the threat.
The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies.