By Erin Cunningham
A long-range S-200 missile is fired on Dec. 29, 2016 in a military drill in the port city of Bushehr, Iran.(Amir Kholousi/ISNA via AP)
ISTANBUL — Iran on Saturday began extensive military exercises in a defiant response to a week of warnings from the Trump administration, including new sanctions, with a senior Iranian military commander calling the actions “futile” and threatening to “rain” missiles down on the country’s enemies.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most influential security institution, said it would test missile and radar systems as part of the drill, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. A statement on the IRGC website said that the aim of the exercise was “to showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions,” Reuters reported.
“Should the enemy make a mistake, our roaring missiles will rain down on them,” IRGC Air Force commander, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, told the semiofficial Tasnim news agency.
Iran also threatened its own sanctions on unnamed U.S. individuals and companies, saying it would “take action” against those it deemed “to have played a role in generating and supporting extremist terrorist groups.” The statement from Iran’s foreign ministry came a day after the Trump administration announced new sanctions on individuals working on Iran’s ballistic missile programs, as well as those who have helped the IRGC support U.S.-designated terrorist groups.
Those sanctions were in response to Iran’s successful testing of a medium-range ballistic missile last week, which the United States says is a violation of the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear weapons development. President Trump said that Iran was “playing with fire” and that Iran had been put “on notice” for the missile test. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also called Iran the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism” on Friday.