The Iranian military is gearing up to launch a series of missile drills following a direct order to resume military activity from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to Persian language reports flagged by the CIA’s Open Source Center.
The announcement that Iran will resume firing missiles comes a day after Russian and Iranian naval warships held a series of military exercises meant to display a joint show of force in the region.
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Iranian military leaders said the missile drills aim to highlight the Islamic Republic’s "military might" in light of recent comments by U.S. officials saying that a military option against Iran remains on the table.
Khamenei ordered the Iranian military to resume launching missiles and running drills, according to a Persian language report by Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency, which is closely aligned with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The "launch of missiles will be conducted according to plans and as per the approval of commander-in-chief of the armed forces Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei]," Major General Seyed Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of General Command Headquarters of Iran’s Armed Forces, was quoted as saying by Fars, according to the Open Source Center’s translation.
The Iranian parliament had also submitted a request to resume missile drills, according to the report. Firouzabadi reportedly thanked the parliament for making this request.
Earlier this month, senior figures in the Iranian parliament began to lobby to resume the missile drills as a show of force meant to deter the U.S. from striking Iran.
"If we hold a military drill and show the level of country's defense preparedness, especially in the field of missiles, then the threatening language of Americans will change," Seyyed Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, a senior national security figure in the country’s parliament, was quoted as saying at the time.
Iran has been ratcheting up its military rhetoric against the United States following the signing of a nuclear accord with global powers.
Senior officials have mocked the Obama administration and accused it of falsely claiming that a military option against Iran is plausible.
"The Western media are mocking at the U.S. for speaking of ‘on the table options (against Iran)’ because the U.S. always utters some words without the ability to materialize them," Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Naval Cmdr. Ali Fadavi was quoted as saying by the country’s state-run press.
Iran is "ready to give such a powerful response to the slightest move of the U.S. that it won’t be able to make any other moves," Fadavi said.
The military leader said that "Iranian Armed Forces are now at the highest level of preparedness," and that "only the dead body of the American troops realizes the power of the Islamic Revolution."
Iranian and Russian forces have also stepped up their military coordination.
Two Russian warships arrived in northern Iran over the weekend to hold a series of war games with an Iranian destroyer, missile-launching ships, and 200 Iranian naval personnel.
The countries have inked arms deals and have vowed to increase their military relationship.
Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, said the nuclear accord has empowered Iran and encouraged its hostile activities.
Under the parameters of the deal, restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program will be lifted. The deal also will permit Iran to import and export military hardware and conventional weapons.
"How quaint. We stop sanctions on ballistic missiles to get a deal, basically finance the revolutionary guard and Iran's shopping spree, and they turn around and use it to bolster their deterrence against us," Rubin said. "Of course, if they weren't planning to cheat, they wouldn't need to worry about last resort military action."