Iran began its largest war games in almost a year on Monday, just two days ahead of a UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment or face further economic sanctions.
The elite Revolutionary Guards began three days of ground maneuvers, dubbed Eghtedar, or Grandeur, state-run media reported Monday.
State television said the exercise is the biggest since March 2006 and is taking place in 16 of Iran's 30 provinces. The broadcast said 20 brigades, or an estimated 60,000 troops, are participating in the maneuvers.
The Revolutionary Guards is an elite military corps with more than 200,000 members and its own naval and air forces. It is independent of the regular armed forces and controlled directly by the supreme leader. It oversees vital interests such as oil and natural gas installations and the nation's missile arsenal.