This past Saturday, two weeks after the White House unveiled new sanctions on two dozen Iranian entities in retaliation for a recent ballistic missile test, Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard announced it was set to conduct military drills this week despite warnings from the United States not to engage in such activity. General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the force's ground units, told a news conference that "the manoeuvres called 'Grand Prophet 11' will start Monday and last three days." and warned that "rockets would be used" without specifying which kind.
Several days later, as Tehran concluded the previously announced war games, Iran retaliated in the ongoing escalation of sabre rattling, when the abovementioned General Mohammad Pakpour again took to the airwave, and said quoted by Reuters that the United States should expect a "strong slap in the face" if it underestimates Iran's defensive capabilities, as Tehran concluded war games.
On Wednesday, the Revolutionary Guards concluded three days of exercises with rockets, artillery, tanks and helicopters, weeks after Trump warned that he had put Tehran "on notice" over the missile launch. "The message of these exercises ... for world arrogance is not to do anything stupid," said Pakpour, quoted by the semi-official news agency Tasnim.
"The enemy should not be mistaken in its assessments, and it will receive a strong slap in the face if it does make such a mistake," said General Mohammad Pakpour, head of the Guards’ ground forces, quoted by the Guards' website Sepahnews.
"Everyone could see today what power we have on the ground." The Guards said they test-fired "advanced rockets" and used drones in the three-day exercises which were held in central and eastern Iran.
Meanwhile, as tensions also mount with Israel, a military analyst at Tasnim said that Iran-allied Hezbollah could use Iranian made Fateh 110 missiles to attack the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona from inside Lebanon. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said last Thursday that his group, which played a major role in ending Israel's occupation of Lebanon, could strike Dimona.
"Since Lebanon's Hezbollah is one of the chief holders of the Fateh 110, this missile is one of main alternatives for targeting the Dimona installations," Hossein Dalirian said in a commentary carried by Tasnim.
In recent weeks, having been forced to concede geopolitically to China by dropping his demand to negotiate "One China", Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table. Just like China, which as reported earlier today has once again poked Trump by building SAM batteries on disputed islands in the South China Sea to see how far it can push the administration before retaliation, Iran is now engaging in exactly the same exercise, trying to gauge how much of Trump's bluster will transform into actual actions. So far, Iran's escalating actions have generated an eerie silence from the White House.