Iran launched large-scale air drills on Monday just as the United States re-imposed sanctions that were scrapped under a nuclear deal three years ago, Iranian media said.
The two-day annual exercise, Defenders of Velayat Skies, will span northern, western, eastern and central regions of Iran, according to the Press TV network.
Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, deputy commander of the Iranian Army responsible for the drills, said they covered an area of around 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 sq mi).
“Our country has been subjected to the most severe forms of sanctions… and these sanctions are more prevalent in the military field because the enemy doesn’t want the Islamic Republic to stay independent,” he was quoted as saying.
US President Donald Trump pulled his country from the 2015 pact with Iran calling it “the worst deal ever.” He said pressure would help bring Iran back to the negotiating table after complaining that the agreement did not cover a range of missiles.