The traditional Iranian Army (Artesh) has begun exercises in the Sea of Oman area deploying ground, air and navy units, state-controlled media reported Sunday.
Iranian armed forces are divided into the traditional army and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), each with many parallel units, such as armor, artillery and navies.
The army’s drills cover an area of one million sq kilometers or 386,000 sq miles, well over half the territory of Iran. Navy vessels and submarines, as well as air force planes and drones are taking part.
Tasnim news agency reported that American-made F4 Phantom interceptors and fighter bombers fired “air-to-ship optimized missiles”. Some Phantoms acquired in the early 1970s during the monarchy are still in operation.
Iran does not have a fully equipped modern air force due to decades of sanctions but it maintains some American and Russian-made warplanes. It relies heavily on a ballistic missile force to intimidate regional adversaries.
The exercises come after Israeli officials have recently said their armed forces are preparing for a possible war with Iran, given the fast progress its nuclear program is making. Israel has repeatedly vowed it will never allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.
An Israeli official told Iran International on October 25 that attacking Iran was now the Israeli air force’s top priority.
Iranian state television said that the aim of the drills is “to boost preparedness for confronting foreign threats and any kind of invasion.”
Iran has been enriching uranium to 60 percent and has accumulated 25 kilograms of the highly purified fissile material, which has no civilian use.
Tensions are high in the region as nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are set to restart on November 29. The United States has warned that if Iran does not come to an agreement to limit its nuclear program, “other options” exist.