November 8, 2021 10:08 AM
The Iranian army began large-scale military exercises on Sunday. The maneuvers are taking place weeks before the meeting of negotiators, who are supposed to make a new attempt to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
The exercises, codenamed Zolfaghar-1400, involve maneuvers in parts of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Oman, which are linked to the Persian Gulf by the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
According to Iranian media, the Iranian Navy and Air Force, in close coordination with the ground forces and rapid reaction forces, are firing on targets in the southern part of the country, using various drones, among other things.
The exercise’s spokesman, Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, told the media that various branches of the army are being trained to launch surprise attacks on the enemy. Among other things, the F-4 fighter jets are said to have been trained to fire anti-ship missiles at naval targets.
The commander of the Central Command of Khatam al-Anbiya, Major General Gholam Ali Rashid, said the Iranian armed forces are “always ready for a strategic, operational and tactical confrontation” in defense against the United States and Israel.
The maneuvers come just weeks before talks begin to revive the 2015 international nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which sharply curtailed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of foreign sanctions. Negotiations are expected to resume on November 29 in Vienna.
In 2018, under the administration of then US President Donald Trump, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and again imposed sanctions on Tehran. Iran responded by gradually reducing its commitments under the agreement.
Last week, US President Joe Biden and the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom called on Iran to urgently seek to continue negotiations in good faith.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stressed on Thursday that his country would not abandon the talks and would continue to urge Washington to lift sanctions on Tehran.
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