Iran holds the "largest military exercise in its history," or at least that was what Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadan channel reported Thursday.
The exercise, dubbed Mohammad Rasoulallah (Mohammad, the Messenger of God) involved all branches of the Iranian military and will last for six days, spanning 2.2 million square kilometers, Iranian news television Press TV reported.
General Hashma Allah Malka said it was an "Important message of peace to our friendly neighbors, but also a show of force regarding our defense abilities which sends a message to our enemies."
As part of what Iranian media are calling a massive show of force, the army will maneuver from the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf all the way to the Gulf of Aden and even the parts of the Indian ocean. According to different reports, the Iranian Navy will be testing warships and submarines.
As part of the exercise, the Iranian will use the more most advanced technology. The first part of the exercise
Close to 13,000 personnel will take part in the drills, which will be the first time Iran has organized military maneuvers so far from its coastline.
The southeastern provinces of Hormozgan and Sistan-Baluchistan will also be included in the tests, with the Iranian army, air force, navy and Revolutionary Guards participating.
"One of the aims of these maneuvers is to increase our defensive capability... and to transfer this experience to young" personnel, army chief general Abdolrahim Moussavi told state television.
The drills will finish with a military parade on December 30.
Last week Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari called on foreign forces in the region to "leave the area" in order to avoid incidents.
The maneuvers will pose "no danger to foreign forces in the Persian Gulf," he added, in an apparent reference to the US Fifth Fleet, which is stationed in Bahrain.
Iran's navy has boosted its international presence over the past few years, in particular to help guard commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden from pirate attacks.
AFP contributed to this report