Reuters: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards test fired missiles on Monday at the start of three days of military exercises that will be staged across the country, the second round of manoeuvres this month, state media reported. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards test fired missiles on Monday at the start of three days of military exercises that will be staged across the country, the second round of manoeuvres this month, state media reported.
Earlier in February, the Guards air and naval forces held military manoeuvres in the Gulf with one commander saying missiles that could sink “big warships” had been tested.
Iran is at loggerheads with the United States over its nuclear programme and what Washington calls Tehran’s meddling in Iraq. Washington has sent a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf but U.S. officials say they are not planning a war.
The war-games which began on Monday are being staged by the Guards’ ground forces in 16 provinces, state media reported.
“The message of this manoeuvre shows the whole Iranian nation’s readiness for defending their sacred country,” Guards’ ground forces commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
The exercises included firing short-, medium- and long-range missiles, IRNA reported. State television showed rockets soaring into the air from mobile launchers on land and from a small boat on water.
Iran’s recent exercises have been seen by military experts as muscle flexing, aimed at showing off Iran’s capabilities in the face of U.S. pressure.
The Revolutionary Guards are an ideological wing of the Islamic Republic’s armed forces and have a command structure separate from the regular military.
The United States has said it wants a diplomatic solution to the nuclear row with Iran, which it accuses of seeking to build atomic bombs. But Washington has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails.
Iran denies it wants to build nuclear bombs, saying its atomic programme is purely civilian. It also dismisses accusations that it is backing militants in Iraq, instead blaming the U.S. occupation for the violence in its neighbour.