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Zulfaqar 1401 drills: Iran Army units exercise coastal defense in Sea of Oman

A soldier fires a shoulder-fired missile on the first night of Zulfaqar 1401 military drills in southern Iran on December 30, 2022. (Photo by Fars News Agency)

Various units of Iran’s Navy exercised defending the country’s southern coasts early on Friday to mark the start of Zulfaqar 1400 military drills in the Sea of Oman.

Large-scale joint military drills codenamed Zulfaqar 1400 began early on Friday with the key motto of “self-confidence, power, sustainable security” in an area stretching from the eastern sector of the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the northern tip of the Indian Ocean.

The first hours of the maneuver were dedicated to defending the coasts of the country.

“The Navy’s rangers used improved arms and equipment to carry out the operation and conducted modern tactics and defensive scenarios in the darkness of night,” Brigadier General Alireza Sheikh, spokesman of the drill, said on Friday morning.

“The operation lasted until dawn and the naval forces used Dehlavieh, TOW, and shoulder-fired Misagh missiles against the enemy’s aggression on coastal lines,” he said.

The forces managed to target the mock enemy’s positions using heavy artillery fire, preventing the enemy’s progress, added the spokesman.

Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, Deputy Chief of the Iranian Army for Coordination Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the drills are aimed at improving planning skills, conducting, directing and evaluating joint operations, and synergizing the defense power of the Army’s four main divisions.

The drills are underway with the participation of infantry and armored units as well as mechanized regiments of the Army’s Ground Force, air defense systems, subsurface, surface and flying vessels, and rangers of the Navy as strategic bombers of the Air Force provide logistical support.

According to Sayyari, the drills also focus on enhancing the skills of the Army’s commanders and personnel in using the combat units and the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, drones, electronic and cyber warfare systems.

The massive drills will remind the regional states of the existing capacities and the fact that they do not need any foreign powers to ensure security in the region, he said, adding that the presence of extra-regional countries and warmongers has always brought nothing to the West Asia region but insecurity, war, and occupation.

Iran Army held Zulfaqar 1400 drills in November 2021 in the same area, showcasing its defensive capabilities that are based on domestically-built equipment.

‘Warning to Israel, extra-regional enemies’

Speaking to reporters on the sideline of the drills on Friday, Commander of Iran’s Khatam al-Anbiya Central Headquarters Major General Gholam-Ali Rashid warned enemies of any miscalculation against Iran.

“The Zionist regime is a military and security threat to all regional countries and Iran,” he said.

The commander cautioned regional countries of any cooperation with Israel in threatening Iran’s national security by providing the occupying regime with bases or facilities. He warned that “those bases as well as the starting point of aggression against Iran which is the occupying regime will be the target of our armed forces’ attacks.”  

Iranian Armed Forces are “serious” in conducting drills as they consider them a “half war” and even a “war before war,” he noted.

“By carrying out drills, we want the enemies to know that in case of any miscalculation, they will certainly face more costs compared to their achievements,” said the general.

He reminded extra-regional enemies that “our armed forces will fight with a hybrid force which will have a devastating power.”

Expounding on “hybrid force,” the commander said any miscalculation and aggression against Iran’s waters, islands, coasts, and facilities will not just be responded to by Iran’s Navy as “all the defensive and offensive power” of the Army, the IRGC, and regional forces will “crush the enemies in a joint and coordinated mission in a vast geographical area.”

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