Major General Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has stated that if combined, the offensive and defensive power of the IRGC's ground troops make it a "destructive" force to be reckoned with.
"If the real power of the ground forces is exercised, it will burn down the houses and nests of enemies", Salami said on the sidelines of a drill codenamed the Great Prophet 16, in southwestern Iran.
Thread on exercise Payambar-e Azam-16 (The Great Prophet 16) of IRGC ground forces in south-western part of Iran.— Yuri Lyamin (@imp_navigator) February 12, 2021
"Saberin" and prbbaly another special units pic.twitter.com/zYGKdVN88U
The general pointed out that the IRGC's ground troops "acquired their offensive power by using different [weapon] systems" and that these troops have "achieved fixed and mobile defence power on the ground against enemies".
He also touted the Great Prophet 16 exercises, which Salami said "showcased a combination of all the main elements of the IRGC's ground combat power".
The IRGC “Great Prophet 16” Drill pic.twitter.com/8SeSckFIl9— Omer Carmi (@CarmiOmer) February 12, 2021
On the heels of the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, #Iran's #IRGC-Ground Forces started its Great Prophet 16 military exercises today in the southwest of the country. It included some exercises like this: 1/2 pic.twitter.com/j9PGvNsYtg— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) February 11, 2021
The exercises were the latest in a series of drills that Iran has held over the past few months amid increasing tensions with the US.
In mid-January, hundreds of Iranian scientists urged the IRGC's Aerospace Force to destroy any US warplanes, especially B-52 bombers, and American warships if they trespass Iran's borders.
In a letter to IRGC Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh signed by 840 university professors, they reportedly referred to him as the "Conquerer of Ayn al-Asad", in an apparent nod to the IRGC Aerospace Force's missile strikes on US airbases in Iraq last year.
The letter came a few days after Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, the commander of the IRGC's Navy, stated that the Islamic Republic "has full control" of the Persian Gulf and that it "dominates the entire waters".
Tangsiri also insisted that the US "has no option but to withdraw from the Gulf region", which he said is "home" to Iran and "Muslim countries on the southern rim" of the area.
This was preceded by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in late December pledging that Tehran "will openly and directly defend its people, security, and vital interests" amid Washington's military build-up near its borders.
Instead of fighting Covid in US, @realDonaldTrump & cohorts waste billions to fly B52s & send armadas to OUR region— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 31, 2020
Intelligence from Iraq indicate plot to FABRICATE pretext for war.
Iran doesn't seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY defend its people, security & vital interests.
He tweeted that he had received intelligence from Iraq of a "plot to fabricate [a] pretext for war [against the Islamic Republic]". Zarif also accused the US of wasting "billions [of dollars] to fly the B-52s and send armadas to our [Middle Eastern] region" instead of focusing on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
US-Iranian relations, which have been tense since Washington's unilateral exit from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, escalated in January 2020, when top IRGC commander General Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike authorised by then-President Donald Trump.