Military exercises carried out near nuclear sites: Iran

Iran has carried out military exercises near its nuclear facilities, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander was quoted as saying on Sunday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sun 14 Nov 2010, 9:29 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:12 AM

The West suspects Iran of seeking nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian research programme and is worried about the threat to international security. Teheran says its long concealed uranium enrichment drive is aimed only at generating electricity.

‘We carried out military exercises in various places like Fordu, Natanz and Bushehr this year. The drills were exactly like real combats,’ Ahmad Miqati told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Iran’s main uranium enrichment plant is near the central city of Natanz. A year ago, Iran revealed the existence of its second plant, Fordu, being built inside a mountain bunker near the central city of Qom after keeping it secret for years.

Iran has repeatedly announced advances in its military capabilities, an apparent bid to show its readiness for any military action and warning that its response to any strike would be crushing.

The Islamic state’s arch enemies, the United States and Israel have not ruled out the possibility of a military attack to rein in the country’s nuclear ambitions if diplomacy fails.

Some Western officials suspect Iran’s development of more sophisticated missiles and some much-publicised missile tests could serve the goal of developing a deliverable nuclear weapon.

The Islamic Republic denies such accusations, saying its missile development efforts are for defensive purposes only.

Miqati, a member of Iran’s elite Guards, said Iran’s new locally made missiles will be test-fired during a five-day countrywide wargame, starting on Tuesday, Mehr reported.

‘The manoeuvre is called Modafean-e Aseman-e Velayat-e 3 (defenders of the sky of velayat-e 3) dozens of our missile systems will be deployed in the exercise,’ Miqati said.

Iran said earlier this week it had developed its own version of the Russian S-300 missile system and soon would test-fire it. Moscow refused to deliver the system to Teheran in order to comply with UN sanctions, imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear work.

The commander soon Iran would soon have ‘good news’ about its missile systems.

‘Our achievements and manoeuvres should not be considered as a threat to any friendly neighbouring country,’ Miqati said.

Teheran has been hit by foreign sanctions for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment related activities. Uranium enrichment can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or, if taken to a higher level, for atomic bombs.

European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has proposed to meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator early next month to discuss Teheran’s nuclear programme. Iran has said it is ready to meet the six powers leading efforts to resolve the nuclear dispute diplomatically.

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