Iran begins annual war games before nuclear talks with West - in pictures

State TV reports that Iran’s military has begun its annual war games near the Gulf of Oman, less than a month before nuclear talks with western powers

Iranian soldiers carry out a military exercise in a coastal area of Sistan and Baluchestan province, near the Strait of Hormuz. The war games have started less than a month before Iran is set to resume nuclear talks with western powers.

The military exercises involve the army, air force and navy and are taking place in an area of more than one million square kilometres to the east of the Strait of Hormuz, Iran's state TV reported.

The war games, known as Zolfaghar-1400, are aimed at “improving readiness in confronting foreign threats and any possible invasion", state TV reported.

The drills come amid heightened tension between Tehran and Washington, which withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal during Donald Trump's term as president. After months of delays, the US, EU and Iran have announced that indirect talks to revive the accord will resume on November 29 in Vienna, Austria.

The nuclear deal offered Iran economic incentives in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme. The US withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and restored sanctions on Iran.

But last week US officials said Iran seized a Vietnamese-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman last month and was still holding the vessel in its port. About 20 per cent of all oil shipping passes through the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.

Iranian troops take part in the war games. It is not yet known how long the exercises will last.

An Iranian paratrooper descends with the national flag during military exercises near the Gulf of Oman.

Commandos and airborne infantry have been sent to take part in the annual exercises, state TV reported.

Iranian soldiers carry out an exercise near a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King transport helicopter and hovercraft.

Fighter jets, submarines and drones are also expected to take part in the drills.

An Iranian drone flies above the Gulf of Oman during Iran's latest war games.

Updated: November 8th 2021, 12:23 PM