Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards staged war games in the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, including a gunboat attack on a model U.S. warship, in Tehran's latest display of military muscle in a Gulf shipping channel vital to world oil exports.

The Shi'ite Muslim Islamic Republic sees the Gulf, between Iran and the Sunni Arab states, as its own backyard and believes it has a legitimate interest in expanding its influence there.

A ceremony marking the exercises was attended by commanders of the Guards, an influential military force led by anti-Western hawks, as well as by parliament speaker Ali Larijani.

"With attention to the situation in the region, we have noticeably expanded the defense budget of the armed forces to ensure the stable security of the region," Larijani told a news conference before the exercises, according to Fars News.






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Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships of the South Korea Navy





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