Iran carries out annual military exercises
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This is just the latest sign of war games ramping up between Tehran and the US. Iran’s drills included missile, torpedo and drone launches. They came as part of the country’s annual series known as Zolfaqar, which was held this year in southern Iran, near the Persian Gulf.
The drills are intended to “convey a clear message to enemies that they should not think of any kind of aggression against the Islamic country”, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.
This show of military might from Iran came just days after the US conducted a military exercise of its own in the Persian Gulf.
US Central Command said: “US Navy patrol coastal ships conducted a live-fire exercise with the MK-60 Griffin guided-missile system in the Arabian Gulf, November 4-6, to test crew proficiency and system functionality.”
The Islamic Republic’s military drills saw submarines firing torpedoes at mock targets along with the launching of anti-ship missiles and anti-aircraft systems.
Iranian Major General Gholam-Ali Rashid, quoted in Newsweek, said the drills will help to “preserve the territorial integrity of dear Iran, as well as the position and power of the region, against the coalition of enemies, and specifically the coalition of the United States and the Zionist regime [Israel]”.
He added: “Our armed forces, including the army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, will crush any threat posed by any arrogant and aggressive power, at any level, and originating from any territory.”
US-Iran relations tumbled to a new low last month when, according to US reports to the Associated Press, Iranian forces seized a Vietnamese-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman at gun point.
The tanker was suspected of having been involved in moving sanctioned Iranian oil to Asia.
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Iranian state television showed footage of the capture on the day before the anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979.
Abdolrahim Mousavi, Commander-in-Chief of Iran’s army, said the Islamic Republic is now ramping up its efforts to monitor enemy movement.
Quoted in AlJazeera, he said: “Since we are aware that the enemy is trying to gather its required information after our forces mobilised in the area, from today we are reinforcing our efforts to monitor enemy movements that had begun days ago.”
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US officials are also increasingly concerned by Iran’s nuclear activity.
In January, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied suggestions that his country is seeking nuclear weapons.
But US Secretary of State Antony Blinken still took the issue up in a Washington press conference on Monday.
He said: “An Iran with a nuclear weapon would be an even more destabilising force in the region and beyond, which is why President Biden met recently in Rome with his German, French, and British counterparts to discuss how we can work together to get Iran back into compliance with the JCPOA, the nuclear agreement.”
The JCPO (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) was launched in April but so far, following a number of talks, no resolution has been reached.
Iran’s military drill started on Sunday and ended today.
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