Tehran: Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard is to conduct military drills next week, a senior commander announced Saturday, despite warnings from the US and fresh sanctions over a ballistic missile test.
“The maneuvers called ‘Grand Prophet 11’ will start Monday and last three days,” Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the force’s ground units, told a news conference.
He said rockets would be used without specifying which kind.
In early February, Iran conducted drills involving short-range missiles at a time of heightened tensions with the US.
Tehran said the exercises were aimed at demonstrating Iran’s “complete preparedness to deal with the threats” and “humiliating sanctions” from Washington.
US President Donald Trump slapped fresh sanctions against Tehran’s weapons procurement network following a ballistic missile test on Jan. 29. “Iran would do well to look at the calendar and realize there’s a new president in the Oval Office. And Iran would do well not to test the resolve of this new president,” Vice President Mike Pence said earlier this month.
New Pentagon chief James Mattis, for his part, has branded Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world”. Mattis arrived in the UAE on Saturday, his first trip to the Middle East since taking office last month.
Gulf nations including the UAE are concerned about growing Iranian involvement in several regional conflicts, and Mattis, who has sounded a hawkish tone on Iran, has blasted Tehran for its “destabilizing” influence.