Iranian military conduct military drills hours before Biden takes office

The Iranian military conducted another weapons drill in the country’s southern coasts hours before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and days after the United States flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over the Middle East.

This was the fifth military drills in under two weeks and were held  along the coast of Makran and the Sea of Oman.

State broadcaster aired dramatic footage of dozens of Iranian soldiers parachuting out of aeroplanes while images released by the army show attack helicopters, tanks and missiles in combat, and hundreds of personnel ready to be deployed.

The army also said it is deploying rapid response forces to test out “a variety of creative indigenous tactics” and is using divers to complete predefined scenarios.

“Today, army ground forces have achieved considerable operational capabilities in deploying drones and missiles,” said Brigadier General Mohammad Hossein Dadras, deputy chief of the Iranian army.

“The power and might of the army’s ground forces in responding to threats will be displayed in this exercise.”

Outgoing US President Donald Trump pursued a “maximum pressure” policy accompanied with harsh economic sanctions on Iran. Trump also sanctioned assassination of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani.

In response to the increased US military presence, Iran’s army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have organised several military shows of force in the new year.

The army conducted a drill for locally made drones and fired torpedoes from locally made submarines, while the IRGC unveiled a huge underground missile base and tested long-range missiles that it said could take out enemy vessels and aircraft carriers more than 1,800km away.

In a speech on Tuesday, IRGC commander-in-chief Hossein Salami said the war games bring “calm and confidence” for the Iranian people and signal that Iran will not falter in defending itself.

“Our hands are on the trigger in representation of the great Iranian nation,” he said.

US President-elect Joe Biden, who will replace Trump on Wednesday, has promised to ease tensions with Tehran by revitalising the 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018.