Iran presents special forces, helicopters and tanks shortly after the United States once again flew B-52 bombers over the Middle East.
Tehran, Iran – The Iranian military conducted another exercise along the country’s southern coasts days after the United States flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over the Middle East.
In what is the fifth show of military force in two weeks, the army’s ground forces have staged land, air and sea war games along the Makran coast and the Arabian Sea.
A state broadcaster aired dramatic footage of dozens of Iranian troops parachuted from planes while footage released by the military shows attack helicopters, tanks and missiles in combat, and hundreds of personnel ready to be deployed.
The military also said it is deploying rapid reaction forces to test “a variety of creative indigenous tactics” and that it uses divers to perform predefined scenarios.
“Today, the army’s ground forces have reached considerable operational capacities to deploy drones and missiles,” said Brigadier General Mohammad Hossein Dadras, deputy chief of the Iranian army.
“The might and might of the Army’s ground forces to respond to threats will be displayed in this exercise.”
The exercise came days after the United States again flew B-52 bombers over the region, the fifth time in two months.
Outgoing administration Donald Trump, which pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” accompanied by severe economic sanctions against Iran, first piloted the bombers as the January 3 anniversary approached the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani was killed in a Trump-ordered drone strike in Baghdad last year.
In response to the increased US military presence, the Iranian military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have staged several military protests of strength in the New Year.
The military conducted an exercise for locally made drones and fired torpedoes from locally made submarines, while the IRGC unveiled a huge underground missile base and tested long-range missiles which it said could eliminate enemy ships and aircraft carriers for more than 1800 km) one way.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday condemned the B-52 mission, saying the United States should spend its military billions “for the health of your taxpayers” if it wants to intimidate Iran.
“Although we have not started a war for over 200 years, we do not hesitate to crush the aggressors,” he said.
In a speech on Tuesday, IRGC Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami said the war games brought “calm and confidence” to the Iranian people and signaled that Iran would not falter in its defense.
“Our hands are on the trigger for the representation of the great Iranian nation,” he said.
US President-elect Joe Biden, who will replace Trump on Wednesday, has vowed to ease tensions with Tehran by revitalizing the 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018.
Biden did signal, however, that Washington was seeking broader negotiations over Iran’s missile program and its regional influence, which Iran rejected.