Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces on Friday held a military exercise involving ballistic missiles and drones in the country's central desert, state TV reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program.
In the first phase of the drill Friday morning, the Guard’s aerospace division launched several surface-to-surface ballistic missiles against simulated enemy bases, state TV reported. It said the drill included Zolfaghar and Dezful solid-fuel ballistic missiles. Bomb-carrying drones were also deployed.
The Dezful, a version of the Zolfaghar, has a 700-kilometer range and 450-kilogram warhead.
In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills. On Wednesday, Iran’s navy held a two-day short-range missile drill in the Gulf of Oman. On Saturday, the Revolutionary Guard held a naval parade in the Arabian Gulf. A week earlier, Iran held a massive drone maneuver across half the country.
Tensions are again rising in the waning days of the administration of President Donald Trump, as Iran ramps up pressure on the West over the US sanctions campaign against Tehran.
Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear deal, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Trump cited Iran’s ballistic missile program among other issues in withdrawing from the accord.
When the US then increased sanctions, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.