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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Iran to fire Shahab 3 missile to kick off war-games on Thursday

Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Nov. 01 – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) will begin week-long military exercises, code-named the “Great Prophet 2”, with the firing of the Shahab missile on Thursday.

The drills will be held in 14 provinces in four stages, and Shahab 2 and Shahab 3 missiles carrying cluster warheads will be fired from the Persian Gulf over the operation zone.

The Supreme Commander of the IRGC said on Wednesday that the Shahab missiles fired will have a range of more than 1,000 kilometres.

Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi told reporters that the purpose of the war-games was to put on display the “strength and resolve” of the IRGC in defending the country’s borders.

General Safavi said that the paramilitary Bassij force will be deployed to 14 of the country’s 30 province and other armed forces units taking part in the drills will be scattered in 10 provinces, and the focus of their operations will be in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

The military drills will involve the IRGC Army, Navy, and Air Force, he said.

A Fateh-110 missile and a Zolfaqar-103 missile, as well as hundreds of rockets and missiles with ranges above 150 km, will be fired during the military manoeuvres.

In April, the IRGC conducted naval war-games, dubbed “Great Prophet”, in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman. During the exercises, Iran put on display what it claimed were new stealth missiles, sonar-evading torpedoes, and even a "flying boat".

Iran has a dual military system with a regular Armed Forces as well as the IRGC. Both have their own Army, Navy, and Air Force and report directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

United States-led forces have been carrying out naval war-games in the Persian Gulf this week in what analysts have said are meant to serve as a warning to Tehran.

Twenty five nations, including Britain, France, Italy, and Bahrain, have taken part in the naval exercises as part of the U.S. Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The goal of the exercises is to practice blocking transports of weapons of mass destruction.
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