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Iranian Army's Ground Force set to start annual drills in strategic southern waters

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari, commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces.

Commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Force says the annual military exercise of his forces is set to start on Tuesday with the presence of airborne brigades, special forces and rapid reaction units along the Makran coast in southeastern part of country.

Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari, commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Force, made the announcement on Monday and said the drill — codenamed Eqtedar (Strength) 99 — would be a target-oriented and extraordinary one on the shores of Makran.

He added that the exercise would be held with the presence of the Army’s 55th Airborne Brigade, the 65th Special Forces Brigade, and the 223rd Rapid Reaction Brigade with the transport and combat support of the Air Force and Aviation Unit.

Stressing that the entire military equipment and weapons used in the exercise are mainly made by Iran’s domestic industries, Ground Forces’ specialists and the country's defense industry, Brigadier General Heydari said the most important objective of this exercise is to evaluate the strength of brigades and rapid reaction and mobile offensive divisions of the Army’s Ground Forces.

"Setting a record in agility and the ability to respond quickly and decisively to any threat is one of the predicted goals of this exercise,” the top commander noted, adding, “Also in this exercise, new and creative indigenous tactics are implemented in order to increase the power of rapid and mobile offensive reaction units.”

Last week, Iran’s Navy launched massive military exercises in the Sea of Oman in order to assess the readiness and military power of the country’s Armed Forces in the strategic southern waters.

The two-day naval drills, codenamed Eqtedar-e Daryayi (Naval Strength) 99, started during a formal ceremony in a vast area spanning the Makran coastal strip on the Sea of Oman and north of the Indian Ocean on Wednesday.

The event was attended by Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri and Chief Commander of the Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, and other senior commanders.

The Iranian Navy took delivery of Makran helicopter carrier, a logistics ship designed to support the Navy’s missions in farther waters, such as the northern part of the Indian Ocean, the Bab al-Mandab Strait, and the Red Sea.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) also on Friday kicked off massive military drills in central Iran, in which it tests its latest ballistic missiles and combat drones.

The drills, codenamed the Great Prophet 15, were held with mass launches of ballistic ground-to-ground missiles and operations by combat bomber drones.

The drills come amid America’s stepped-up military threats against Iran in the final days of US President Donald Trump in office.

Late last month, two American B-52 bombers flew over the Middle East. They deployed from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and were escorted by US F-16s, according to US Central Command.

It marked Washington’s third deployment of nuclear-capable B-52s to the region within 45 days.

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