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Mideast naval exercise to be jointly conducted by US, Belgium, France and Japan

The US Navy said on Sunday that it will hold a major naval exercise jointly with Belgium, Japan, and France in the Mideast. This exercise comes against the backdrop of tensions between the US and Iran over Iran’s nuclear programme in the region. 

The Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise will see ships from the four countries conducting drills in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The ships involved will be the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, the Belgian frigate HNLMS Leopold I, and the Japanese destroyer JS Ariake. 

The drill comes as Iran has abandoned all limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in the wake of then-President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw from the accord. But the current US administration led by President Joe Biden has shown willingness to restore the deal if Iran honours the deal’s limits on its nuclear programme.  

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