Iran military exercise showcases deterrent capability

December 22, 2021 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Various forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) began a massive military drill along the southern coastlines of the country amid simmering diplomatic tensions in the Persian Gulf region emanating from Western interference.

The drill, code-named the Great Prophet 17, included a showcase of Iran’s newest homegrown arms and equipment. 

In a press briefing on Monday, Brigadier General Abbas Nilforoushan, the IRGC’s deputy chief of operations and spokesman for the drills, announced that various IRGC units such as the aerospace force and the cyber-electronic division would participate in the exercise.

On Tuesday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami, accompanied by a number of senior generals, paid a visit to the location of the drill. 

The drill featured real-time firing of smart bombs, ballistic and cruise missiles targeting fixed and mobile targets. In addition, combat drones dropped bombs with pinpoint accuracy and Su-22 warplanes bombarded mock enemy targets in close air support (CAS) operation. 

The drill came at a time when a deathly silence has fallen over the Persian Gulf region after the recent round of talks in Vienna, which ended with no conclusion. The slogan of the drill summed up the motivation behind it: “Authority, security and smart and active deterrence thanks to National unity, harmony, and integration.”

In recent weeks, there has been ceaseless bluster from Israel against Iran. Many Israeli officials have openly threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in light of the lack of progress in Vienna talks. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said that he ordered the Israeli army to prepare for a military attack on Iran. Other Israeli intelligence, political and military officials have echoed the same threat. An Iranian security official has told Nour News, a media outlet close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, that relative progress made in the Vienna talks could reinforce Israel’s motivation to make “malicious moves.”

Citing “some unassessed news,” the official said Israel “is considering making mischief” against Iran.

This seems to have prompted Major General Gholam Ali Rashid, commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Central Headquarters, to issue a stark warning to Israel. “If such threats are carried out, the Islamic Republic’s Armed Forces will immediately and decisively attack all centers, bases, routes, and spaces used to carry out the aggression,” he warned. 

But Israel is hardly the only player seeking to disrupt stability in the region. Many believe that Israel is buoyed up by France and the UK, which also seek to gain a foothold in a Persian Gulf region increasingly feeling abandoned by the U.S.  

While the UK has sought to show it’s on the same page with Israel on Iran, France went beyond playing the role of bad cop in Vienna by supplying the United Arab Emirates with state-of-the-art warplanes all while propitiating Saudi Arabia by taking a tough stance against Iran. 

Nour News suggested France, seeing an opportunity in U.S. withdrawal from the region, seeks to secure interests that fall beyond the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The outlets noted that France pushes for making Iran choose between a complete failure of the talks and a 2021 version of the nuclear deal.  

The UK also sees emerging opportunities in the Persian Gulf region. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has held a joint meeting with the foreign ministers of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and the secretary general of the regional organization in London, a move that elicited criticism from Iran’s Ambassador to the UK Mohsen Baharvand. 

“It is unfortunate that some Arab countries ignore Iran's open arms for negotiation, dialogue and respectful neighborly policy, and issue a statement in London against the great and powerful Iran,” Baharvand said in an Instagram post. 

He added that the path to security, friendship, and prosperity passes through Tehran, not London, noting that all counties of the region should contribute to maintaining security in the region.

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