Iran has inaugurated a new air base near its eastern border with Afghanistan to protect against a possible strike by enemy forces operating in the neighboring country. The new base is part of a broader military build-up by Tehran, which is concerned about the US military’s presence in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Inauguration of this airbase was aimed at responding to a possible strike swiftly and strongly if a strike or attack is launched against the country,” the head of Iran’s air force, General Ahmad Mighani, told state television.
Mighani said the base, which was inaugurated Monday, was meant to boost the presence of Iran’s air force in the eastern part of the country. Most of the country’s 12 air force bases are currently situated in the west.
The new base, named Gayem al-Mohammad, is located near the city of Birjand, the administrative center of the southern province of South Khorasan. Gen. Migani said Iranian fighters and a modern radar system will be deployed at the base.
“Our enemies must know that if they attempt to attack our country, we will teach them a lesson they will never forget,” he said.
Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said in mid-September, “We do not consider an attack on Iran to have any sense, but if it takes place, the aggressors will receive a painful lesson, and their actions will cause harm to the entire region,” he said.
Larijani, in reference to US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, went on to say, “Experience has shown us that they (the US) can start things, but not finish them.”
The official also warned the US against building a new military base in Iraq, close to Iran’s borders.
“The Americans will suffer from coming closer to Iranian borders, but the Iraqi government’s approach is important here, and they openly told us they would not have them (the US) build a military base in Iraq,” Larijani said.
US military authorities in Iraq said earlier they had plans to build a military base close to the border with Iran, in the Wasit province of southern Iraq.