Iran to Stage Military Exercises

A02268327.jpgThe Iranian Air Force will test home-made warfare in a joint military exercise with the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), the Defense Minister said.

The joint aerial maneuver will be held on Monday and is aimed at boosting Iran’s defensive capabilities and operational tactics, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet session here in Tehran on Sunday.

He also said that another maneuver code-named ‘Defenders of Velayat’ will be held next Monday.

The minister also said that all the war games mainly seeks to promote military capability and test the tactics of the armed forces.

Domestically-made military equipment are usually test-fired during such events, he said.

“We will take every necessary measure to help strengthen the armed forces’ defense capabilities,” he noted.

In response to a question about the country’s reaction to the recent threats posed by the US and Israel, he said that such threats have been common to the nation and are of no effect.

“They pose such threats as a result of their weakness,” he said.

In early July, the IRGC held an extensive military exercise, during which Iran successfully test-fired advanced shore-to-sea, surface-to-surface and sea-to-air missiles.

Iran also tested the upgraded version of Shahab-3 missile equipped with a one-ton conventional warhead and capable of hitting targets within a 2,000-kilometer (1,245-mile) range.

Iran’s naval forces also made breakthrough in building various types of “radar evading” submarines to guard its territorial waters.

The military exercises come in the wake of escalating US and Israeli threats to strike the country’s nuclear facilities.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Speculation that Israel could bomb Iran has mounted since a big Israeli air drill last month. In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv.

The United States has also always stressed that military action is a main option for the White House to deter Iran’s progress in the field of nuclear technology.

Iran has warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

Strait of Hormoz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route.

Intensified threats by Tel Aviv and Washington of military action against Iran contradict a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies which endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear plans and activities.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military attack on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

The UN nuclear watchdog has also carried out at least 14 surprise inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support West’s allegations.

Following the said reports by the US and international bodies, many world states have called the UN Security Council pressure against Tehran unjustified, demanding that Iran’s case be normalized and returned from the UNSC to the IAEA.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, found that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities “is unlikely” to delay the country’s program.

The ISIS study also cautioned that an attack against Iran would backfire by compelling the country to acquire nuclear weaponry.

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