Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) kicked off five days of military maneuvers across the country’s south on December 20, state television reported, amid continued tensions with the West over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The IRGC’s aerospace division, ground troops, and naval forces joined in the exercises, with maritime forces set to maneuver in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, state TV said.

The exercises come days after talks in Vienna to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers were suspended.

Israel has repeatedly threatened unilateral action against Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is for strictly peaceful purposes.

Gholamali Rashid, a top IRGC commander, vowed a harsh response to any Israeli military action against Iran.

Iranian forces will launch “a crushing attack on all bases, centers, paths, and space used to carry out the aggression without delay,” the semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Rashid as saying.

“Any threat to Iran’s nuclear and military bases by the Zionist regime is not possible without the green light support of the United States,” he said.

Earlier on December 20, residents of Bushehr, some 700 kilometers south of Iran’s capital, Tehran, reported seeing a light in the sky and hearing loud explosions near the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

An official told Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency that the sounds were the result of an air-defense exercise that involved antiaircraft firing.

Source » rferl