“Despite the opposition of and threats made by the global arrogance and Zionism against the Iranian nation, we do not consider [the possibility of] a threat void and will continue to prepare [our] forces,” Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohammad Ali Jafari said on the sidelines of the “Val Fajr” military drills on Monday.

Tensions between Iran and the US over the Strait of Hormuz escalated after Washington and the European Union imposed sanctions against Iran’s oil sector.

On December 27, 2011, Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned that imposing sanctions against the country’s energy sector would prompt Tehran to prevent oil cargos from passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway which connects the Persian Gulf on the west to the Sea of Oman.

Statistically, the waterway is one of the world’s most important shipping lanes, with a daily flow of about 15 million barrels of oil.

Jafari added that the IRGC maneuvers display Iran’s strategic readiness to counter possible threats, stressing that the IRGC closely monitors all the US moves in neighboring states and adopts measures to counter them.

The commander emphasized that the IRGC drills are defensive planning in the Persian Gulf coastal regions where enemies pose the most threats.

He stressed that enemies do not dare to launch even a minor strike against the Islamic Republic and reiterated that the Iranian forces are completely prepared to maintain security and peace in the country and in neighboring states.

On Monday, the IRGC Ground Forces began the key and final phase of the Val Fajr maneuvers in the central province of Yazd in a bid to further improve the combat preparedness of Iranian armed forces.

Last month, the IRGC staged Shohaday-e Vahdat (Martyrs of Unity) maneuvers in the vicinity of Khaf city in east Iran to enhance the combat capabilities of IRGC armored forces and to practice asymmetric war tactics against a mock enemy force.

The IRGC Ground Forces also carried out Hamiyan-e Velayat (Supporters of the Just Jurisprudent) in early February near Jahrom city in southern Iran during which all the elements of aerial combat forces were engaged in defense drills