0123 GMT December 12, 2019
The final phase of the joint air defense exercise, codenamed ‘Guardians of Velayat Sky-98’, began in an area of 416,000 square kilometers mostly in the province of Semnan, according to Tasnim News Agency reported.
During the Friday drills, the domestically made air defense system “Talash” destroyed the high-altitude targets.
The psychological and civil defense operations were also carried out in the final phase of the exercise.
The war game is aimed at boosting the combat preparedness and consolidate the air defense capabilities of the Armed Forces in simulated real-war conditions, according to the Iranian commanders.
The drill includes various types of homegrown missile systems and radars countering aerial threats in low, medium and high altitudes.
Iran’s Armed Forces hold routine military exercises throughout the year.
Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored that the country will not hesitate to strengthen its military capabilities, including its missile power, which are entirely meant for defense, and that Iran’s defense capabilities will be never subject to negotiations.
On the sidelines of the military drill, Commander of the IRGC's Khatam al-Anbiya Headquarters Major General Gholam Ali Rashid said the United States must act responsibly to protect the lives of its soldiers in the region, warning that Iran is ready to respond to any threat by using defensive and offensive measures, Press TV reported.
"Washington has to act responsibly in protecting and not endangering the lives of American soldiers by avoiding any mistakes in the region, specifically in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz," he said.
Rashid added that Tehran did not seek war, but that branches across Iran's Army and IRGC forces were always prepared to defend Iran's interests.
He added that Iran's ability to repel any "provocative action" is increasing in a "coordinated manner."
The military drill came after Washington's USS Abraham Lincoln sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Persian Gulf on Tuesday.
On the same day, US President Donald Trump announced the deployment of the first batch of previously promised troops in Saudi Arabia. There will be a total of 3,000 troops in the "coming weeks."
The troops are being deployed to "assure" Washington's regional partners and "deter further Iranian provocative behavior," Trump said.
Washington, along with its regional allies such as Riyadh, has sought to couple economic sanctions with the prospect of military action as part of a campaign of "maximum pressure" against Tehran.
Speaking regarding the developments on Friday, Rashid said "sending messages and words" were not enough to deter Iran's enemies.
"Suitable measures and actions are needed", he added.