Iranian ballistic missile_311 reuters.
(photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)
Iran's Revolutionary Guard was scheduled to launch a large-scale military exercise entitled the "Great Prophet Mohammad War Games 6" on Monday, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
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Revolutionary Guard Brig-Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that the purpose of the drill was to test the IRGC forces defensive preparedness as well as to practice the use of advanced equipment.
Hajizadeh added that Iran's arsenal of missiles, including the country's long range missiles, would be tested during the exercise. Among Iran's arsenal of missiles is the Sajjil, with a range of nearly 2,000 km, which would allow it to strike targets as far away as Israel or southeast Europe.
The Iranian military official emphasized that the purpose of the maneuver was not to threaten Iran's neighbors, but rather to ensure the Islamic Republic's defensive capabilities.
Earlier this month, the United States slapped sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard for its part in human rights abuses within Iran.
“The United States stands with all Iranians who wish for a government that respects their human rights, their dignity and their freedom, and we call on the Iranian government to end its systematic human rights abuses and political hypocrisy,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in announcing the sanctions.
Last week, the European Union sanctioned three commanders of the Revolutionary Guard accused of supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's suppression of dissent.
The Iranians were Major-General Qasem Soleimani and Brigadier Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari of the Revolutionary Gaurd, and the Guard's deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb.
Iran is at loggerheads with major powers over its nuclear work, which it says is peaceful and intended solely for generating electricity but which Washington and its allies fear is aimed at making nuclear bombs.
Israel sees the potential of a nuclear armed Iran -- which refuses to recognize the Jewish state and supports Hamas and Hezbollah -- as a major threat and both it and its ally Washington do not rule out military action to prevent such a scenario.
Iran has said it would respond to any attack by targeting US interests and Israel.Hilary Leila Krieger and Reuters contributed to this report