Iran army commandos start drills near mouth of Gulf

·1 min read
Major General Hossein Salami is seen during a ceremony to mark the one year anniversary of the killing of senior Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. attack, in Tehran

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian army commandos and paratroopers started exercises near the mouth of the Gulf on Tuesday, the last full day of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

State television showed paratroopers landing behind mock enemy lines near the port of Jask on the Gulf of Oman and preparing attacks with missile launchers.

"The recent war games show to enemies the Iranian nation's will to defend its independence and territorial integrity," Revolutionary Guards commander General Hossein Salami told state TV. "Our fingers are on the trigger on behalf of the nation."

Last week, the Revolutionary Guards fired long-range ballistic missiles at mock enemy warships in the Indian Ocean and tested domestically manufactured drones in Iran's central desert region.

Last Wednesday, Iran tested short-range naval missiles in the Gulf, and exercises earlier this month featured a wide array of domestically produced drones.

Iran has one of the biggest missile programmes in the Middle East, regarding them as a deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States and other adversaries in the event of war.

Periodic confrontations have taken place between Iran's military and U.S. forces in the Gulf since 2018, when Trump abandoned Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reinstated harsh sanctions against Tehran.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has said the United States will rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran resumes strict compliance.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)