This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has launched ground forces drills in the southwest of the country near the Iraqi border.
IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said on February 11 that drones, helicopters, and artillery are to be used in the drills, dubbed Great Prophet 16, according to Press TV.
It was not clear how long the drills would last.
Iran has increased its military drills in recent weeks as tensions built during the final days of the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Tehran is also trying to pressure U.S. President Joe Biden’s new administration to reenter a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
In January, the IRGC conducted exercises in which ballistic missiles targeted simulated targets in the country’s central desert and the Indian Ocean, state media reported.
The previous week, the Iranian conducted short-range missile exercises in the Gulf of Oman following an IRGC naval parade in the Persian Gulf.
Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear pact in 2018 and reimposed crushing sanctions on Tehran.
In response to the U.S. moves, which were accompanied by increased tensions between Iran, the United States, and its allies, Tehran has gradually breached parts of the pact saying it is no longer bound by it.
The Biden administration has expressed willingness to return to compliance with the accord if Iran does, and then work with U.S. allies and partners on a “longer and stronger” agreement, including other issues such as Iran’s missile program.
Iranian officials insist that the United States should make the first move by returning to the agreement, which eased international sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
They also say that the country’s missile program is off the table.