The Iranian navy conducts “Velayat-90” naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz off Iran on Sunday.
The Iranian navy conducts “Velayat-90” naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz off Iran on Sunday.

Iran test-fires cruise missiles

Iran said yesterday it had successfully test-fired what it called “long-range” missiles, capping 10 days of navy war games near the Strait of Hormuz that have raised tensions with the West and Gulf states.

The military muscle-flexing was apparently designed to show Iran could cause global economic havoc by disrupting shipping in the strategic waterway at the mouth of the Gulf, through which a third of the world’s tanker-borne oil passes.

Analysts say Iran’s sabre-rattling was probably aimed at strengthening its bargaining position before possible new talks with world powers about its nuclear activities, which the West believes are aimed at weapons development, a charge Tehran denies.

A report on state-run television declared one of the missiles fired was an Iranian-designed radar-evading, “shore-to-ship” cruise missile called Qader (Capable). Another was a surface-to-surface missile called Nour (Light), based on a Chinese design.

Each has a range of 200 kilometres, making them short-range. Even so, they could reach the other side of the Gulf from Iran’s south-western port of Bandar Abbas.

Iran’s state-run media said these war games were more extensive than before, but there was no repeat of its 2009 test-firing of the Shahab-3, a surface-to-surface ballistic missile that can reach targets up to 1,000km away, putting US military bases in range. Iran’s arsenal also includes missiles with a range of up to 2,400km that could hit Israel.

Tehran’s aim instead was apparently to demonstrate its ability to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a high-risk move that could trigger a military conflict with western powers.

The US, whose Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, has warned it would not tolerate the strait’s closure, and Britain has four Royal Navy minesweepers and a frigate in the Gulf to ensure the safe passage of oil shipping.

The US is supporting its Gulf allies with arms sales. In recent days it approved a $3.5 billion (Dh12.85bn) deal to supply the UAE with an advanced anti-missile interception system. Washington is also selling Saudi Arabia $29.4bn worth of F-15 fighter jets.

Amid the war games, on Sunday Tehran defiantly announced a breakthrough in its nuclear programme.

It said it had produced and tested the country’s first nuclear fuel rod, which western experts believed was beyond Iran’s capabilities.

Analysts said Iran’s display of bravado was in part intended to boost morale at home, where people are struggling as sanctions hit the economy and the regime’s ruling hardliners are locked in a bitter power struggle.

Tehran threatened last week that it would block the Strait of Hormuz if the West embargoes its oil exports.

Undeterred, the US has imposed its toughest sanctions on Tehran. They enable Washington to blacklist any foreign entity that deals with Iran’s central bank, the conduit for most Iranian oil contracts.

The European Union could go even further when its foreign ministers meet this month to consider banning Iranian oil imports.

Iran’s currency has slumped more than 12 per cent in street trading since Washington activated the new sanctions.

Tehran, perhaps deliberately to keep its adversaries guessing, has sent mixed messages in the past week about the Strait of Hormuz. A commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard, General Masoud Jazayeri, said on Saturday that Tehran would not block the strait for now. A day later, a prominent MP, Mohammad Ismail Kowsari, described the war games as a rehearsal for closing the waterway.

Iran would devastate its own economy by shutting the strait, which it also relies on for vital petroleum imports, and it would cost invaluable diplomatic support from Russia and China.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said on Saturday his country would propose a new round of talks with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Analysts doubt they will be any more successful than the last round of negotiations in Turkey 13 months ago.

“The world powers are showing no sign they’re willing to give Iran a ladder to climb down,” said a senior western official. “And Iran’s instinct when it is challenged, as it is now very severely being with sanctions, is to up the ante.”


Date started: 2012

Founder: Amir Barsoum

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: HealthTech / MedTech

Size: 300 employees

Funding: $22.6 million (as of September 2018)

Investors: Technology Development Fund, Silicon Badia, Beco Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Saudi Technology Ventures and IFC

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 201hp at 5,200rpm

Torque: 320Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km

Price: Dh133,900

On sale: now


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The specs: 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

Price, base / as tested Dh57,000

Engine 1,170cc air/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke engine

Transmission Six-speed gearbox

Power 110hp) @ 7,750rpm

Torque 116Nm @ 6,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 5.3L / 100km


Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

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  • AJ Styles retained the WWE World Heavyweight title against Shinsuke Nakamura
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Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

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Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Ramez Gab Min El Akher

Creator: Ramez Galal

Starring: Ramez Galal

Streaming on: MBC Shahid

Rating: 2.5/5

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Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
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Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

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Monday, June 19

Sri Lanka v UAE, Queen’s Sports Club

Wednesday, June 21

Oman v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club

Friday, June 23

Scotland v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club

Tuesday, June 27

Ireland v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club

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Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

The biog

From: Upper Egypt

Age: 78

Family: a daughter in Egypt; a son in Dubai and his wife, Nabila

Favourite Abu Dhabi activity: walking near to Emirates Palace

Favourite building in Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace

Thor: Ragnarok

Dir: Taika Waititi

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson

Four stars

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

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Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

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Team Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
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UAE Women’s Team
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• The digitisation of financial services will continue

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• Digitisation will require continued adjustment of operating models

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• The structure of the sector will change

The bio

Job: Coder, website designer and chief executive, Trinet solutions

School: Year 8 pupil at Elite English School in Abu Hail, Deira

Role Models: Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk

Dream City: San Francisco

Hometown: Dubai

City of birth: Thiruvilla, Kerala

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 646hp
Torque: 830Nm
Transmission: Two-speed auto (rear axle); single-speed auto (front)
Price: From Dh552,311; Dh660,408 (as tested)
On sale: now


Company name: Nybl 

Date started: November 2018

Founder: Noor Alnahhas, Michael LeTan, Hafsa Yazdni, Sufyaan Abdul Haseeb, Waleed Rifaat, Mohammed Shono

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Software Technology / Artificial Intelligence

Initial investment: $500,000

Funding round: Series B (raising $5m)

Partners/Incubators: Dubai Future Accelerators Cohort 4, Dubai Future Accelerators Cohort 6, AI Venture Labs Cohort 1, Microsoft Scale-up 


Monday, January 28
Iran v Japan, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium (6pm)

Tuesday, January 29
UAEv Qatar, Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium (6pm)

Friday, February 1
Final, Zayed Sports City Stadium (6pm)

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