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Iran Announces New Military Drills Despite U.S. Warnings

Iran says its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) will conduct massive military drills next week in eastern and northeastern parts of the country.

General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the IRGC's ground units, said in Tehran on February 18 that the maneuvers, Grand Prophet 11, will begin on February 20 and last for three days.

Pakpour said that some unspecified rockets, the IRGC's drones, and artillery would also be used during the exercises.

The military drills will be held despite warnings from the United States and the implementation of new sanctions by Washington over a ballistic-missile test conducted by Iran on January 29.

Pakpour said the maneuvers are aimed at demonstrating Iran's "complete preparedness to deal with the threats" and "humiliating sanctions" from Washington.

"Iran would do well not to test the resolve of this new president [Donald Trump]," U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said earlier this month, as the new Trump administration had announced that it had put Iran "on notice" after the missile test last month.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has also said that Iran is "the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world."

Iranian officials have said their missile program is purely for defensive purposes.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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