Iran to Stage Military Drills in Defiance of US Sanctions
Iran's Revolutionary Guard is to conduct military drills with use of missiles next week, according to an announcement from Iranian senior command. The announcement comes after a new set of sanctions was imposed on the country by US President Donald Trump.
Iran will stage military maneuvers called "Grand Prophet 11" next week, Iranian General Mohammad Pakpour said.
"The maneuvers […] will start Monday and last three days," he said during a press conference.
Pakpour noted that missiles will be used during the drills but did not specify what type of missiles.
This will be the second Iranian military exercise in February. Earlier this month, Iran conducted military exercises aimed to "showcase the power of Iran's revolution and to dismiss the sanctions," according to the Revolutionary Guard's website.
"If we see [the] smallest misstep from the enemies, our roaring missiles will fall on their heads," General Amir Ali Haijazadeh said that during that exercise.
The news come in the wake of the Trump administration's imposition of a new set of sanctions on Iran as a response to a ballistic missile test conducted earlier in January, and following vague and threatening statements that Iran had been put "on notice."
"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, referring to what the Trump administration characterizes as a too-soft position stance on Iran taken by former president Barack Obama.
According to various media reports, Trump's sanctions targeted Iranian, Lebanese, Emirati and Chinese individuals and firms involved in procuring ballistic missile technology for Iran; or several individuals allegedly involved in laundering money for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Iran claims that its ballistic missiles are designed for defensive purposes only and are not designed to carry a nuclear warhead. Tehran insists that its January missile test violates neither the nuclear deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached in 2015 nor the UN resolution calling on Iran to refrain from testing weapons systems designed to be nuclear-capable
The media assumes that the January missile test was in fact Iran's test of how far Trump's administration was ready to go, and how fast. The Washington Post cites an anonymous source in the administration saying the sanctions were an "initial" step in a plan of measures intended to influence Iranian policies. When asked whether the US would consider using military action in response to escalating tensions with Tehran in early February, Trump told reporters that "nothing is off the table."
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