TEHRAN — Iran's Revolutionary Guards began a three-day military exercisel Thursday as the elite force marked the 31st anniversary of its inception by revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979.
"The military exercise named Prophet V has started," state-owned Arabic language Al-Alam Television reported without elaborating.
On Wednesday, Guards deputy commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami said the drill would include testing of home-built missiles.
The exercise will see ground, air and naval units of the Guards participating and is aimed at "preserving the security of Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman," Salami said.
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Nearly 40 percent of world's seaborne oil shipments pass through this waterway.
Iran regularly conducts such military drills to promote its defence capabilities. Its military officials have previously warned that if Tehran was attacked, their forces would hit back by blocking the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran's missile programme has caused deep concern in the West, which is already at loggerheads with Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme.
The Revolutionary Guards were set up by Khomeini in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution to defend the Islamic republic from internal and external threats.
It is one of Iran's most powerful institutions and under direct command of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who succeeded Khomeini as the nation's all-powerful supreme leader.
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.