Middle East Time for Sweeping Gestures

The hunt for mines goes on, as a Saudi arms deal is proposed

The operation was not impressive in scope or execution, but it certainly took the prize for gall. With 30 invited foreign journalists looking on, the Iranian navy last week sent six ships and six U.S.-made helicopters into the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman to search for, of all things, mines. Iran itself is widely assumed to have put them there. After five days the Iranians declared they had exploded four of the devices. "Our mission is to sweep the area of mines," an Iranian commander said with a straight face. "We have no idea who planted them."

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