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Iran holds drill with 12,000 troops, says attackers would face ‘crushing blow’

Two-day exercise showcases new rapid deployment units

In this photo provided Friday, January 25, 2019, by the Iranian Army, soldiers take position in an infantry drill in the central Isfahan province, Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)
In this photo provided Friday, January 25, 2019, by the Iranian Army, soldiers take position in an infantry drill in the central Isfahan province, Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)

Iran’s state TV said the country’s army launched an annual infantry drill involving some 12,000 troops, including elite troops, fighter jets, armored vehicles and drones.

The exercise, which Iranian officials dubbed as “war games,” involves newly developed rapid redeployment units, and will focus on combat against enemies and armed militants, Reuters reported.

Iranian TV said that transport planes and dozens of helicopters deployed commandos that as part of the drill hunted down mock armed militants, Reuters added. An armored battalion blocked the mock army that attempted to retreat.

The TV report quoted Gen. Nozar Nemati as saying the two-day exercise is unfolding over a 190-square mile (500-square kilometer) area in the central Isfahan province.

Nemati said the ground forces would practice new offensive tactics.

“In these war games we will showcase two important developments: a special-forces rapid deployment battalion and a highly mobile offensive armored battalion,” the head of the army’s ground forces, General Kioumars Heydari, told state television, according to Reuters.

He added that the exercise exemplified Iran’s military capabilities. Heydari further said the drill would show Iran’s enemies that they would be dealt a “rapid and crushing blow” if they were to attack the Islamic Republic, Reuters reported.

Iran regularly holds exercises to display its military preparedness and has vowed to respond strongly to any attack by Israel or the United States, both of which view it as a regional menace.

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