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December 26, 2014 12:22 am

Iran Army stages massive military drills

TEHRAN: In a show of strength, Iranian armed forces have begun a massive military drill, stretching several hundred kilometres from the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Aden, Press TV reported on Thursday.

The large-scale, armed forces display at the entrance of strategic Strait of Hormuz,  meant as a demonstration of defense capabilities and a test of new weapons, Iranian officials said.

Codenamed Mohammad Rasoulallah (Mohammad, the Messenger of God), the drills launched on Thursday encompass a territory of some 2.2 million square kilometers, Iranian news television Press TV reported.

It stretches from the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, where the Iranian Navy will be testing its warships and submarines, to the southeastern part of the country, where units of the army will be participating in maneuvers.

During the first stage, the largest of its kind in the region, different ground units, fighter jets and air defense systems have been stationed in the southeastern part of the country. Various surface and under-surface vessels have been deployed in the Sea of Oman.

The Second-in-Command of the Iranian Army Brigadier General Abdolrahim Mousavi said that “boosting the defense capabilities” of the country is one of the objectives of the maneuvers.

The Iranian commander said that the country’s army wants to convey a message of peace and friendship to neighboring states through this military drill.

The exercises will be carried out by the Army’s Ground, Naval and Air Forces and with the support of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that various types of warships, destroyers, submarines, missiles, aircraft and helicopters would take part in the drill in a bid to improve the naval forces’ power.

A week ago chief of Iran's Navy called on foreign forces, including Americans,  to leave the drill zone for the duration of the exercises to avoid any accidents.

Iran is bitterly opposed to the presence of Western military, hosted by its Arab neighbours, in the Persian Gulf saying Iranian forces were capable of ensuring security of the strategic region.

The Islamic Republic has frequently announced that its military might poses no threat to other countries, stating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.

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