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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Iran military to launch war-games as tensions build with West

Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 16 – Iran will launch a new round of war-games later this week, putting on display new Iranian-make armaments, a top military commander announced on Wednesday.

The military exercises involving land and air combat forces will begin Saturday in several border provinces where anti-government protests have been most rampant.

“We must show the enemies the Islamic Republic’s military capability”, the deputy commander of the regular armed forces, Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani, told reporters.

Ashtiani said that the manoeuvres, code-named “Zolfaghar”, will be in support the policies of the government and in particular the Foreign Ministry, a possible reference to the military’s backing for the theocratic state’s nuclear program.

He specifically mentioned the provinces of East and West Azerbaijan, Khorassan, Kurdistan, and Sistan-va-Baluchestan as regions where the manoeuvres will take place.

Among items which will be put on display in the military drills are armour-piercing bullets manufactured by the Defence Industries Organisation, affiliated to the Ministry of Defence, he said.

Ashtiani said that the armed forces were “ready to thwart” all “plots” against the Islamic Republic, adding that no army in the world could match Iran’s regular armed forces, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and its affiliated organs.

Iran has a dual military system with a regular armed forces as well as the IRGC. Both report directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
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