- Iranian warships conduct anti-piracy patrols in Saudi port city
- The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps ground force is taking part
- The drills are happening in the southern province of Fars
- It follows war games in eastern Iran in January
Iranian forces began a series of airborne war games Saturday aimed at improving combat preparedness, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported.
The drills by the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps are code-named Hamiyan-e Vellayat, or Supporters of Religious Leadership, and are taking place in the southern province of Fars, FNA said.
They are among a series of specialized war games involving the IRGC ground force, Ground Force Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakour told FNA.
The same force conducted military exercises in eastern Iran in January, when armored units and IRGC commandos "attacked positions of the hypothetical enemy in five phases and hit enemy with heavy fire," FNA reported.
A senior commander of the IRGC told the news agency that the force has "successfully tested" its latest domestically produced military tools and equipment and achieved "positive results" testing the capabilities of armored units.
Meanwhile Saturday, a flotilla of Iranian warships arrived in the Saudi port of Jeddah on Saturday, Fars reported, citing Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari of the Iranian Navy. The ships are in the region to conduct anti-piracy exercises, according to Fars.
The heavy naval presence in the Persian Gulf comes amid a time of heightened tension in the region. Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial shipping lane for Persian Gulf oil amid tough sanctions from Western nations aimed at stopping Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
The flotilla's mission "is aimed at demonstrating Iran's power in the high seas," Fars reported, citing comments made by Sayyari.