Iran announces plans for military drills

April 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM
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TEHRAN, April 12 (UPI) -- Days before a planned nuclear summit in Istanbul, an Iranian military commander announced plans for one of the largest coordinated force maneuvers this year.

Iranian Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced plans for coordinated maneuvers with members of the national army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp.

"This year the largest joint maneuver between the Army and the IRGC will be staged for the first time," he was quoted by state-funded broadcaster Press TV as saying.

Some military powers are monitoring developments in the region after Iran threatened to block oil shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz in response to increased sanctions pressure.

Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi warned that Tehran won't let foreign troops undermine the security in the Persian Gulf.

The announcement comes days before scheduled nuclear negotiations between Iran and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- along with Germany in Istanbul.

Iran is suspected of pursuing the technology needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon, an allegation the government denies.

Tehran didn't announce a schedule for the military maneuvers.

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