Iran tests new weapons to prepare for 'insane enemy'

Sunday, August 20, 2006

NICOSIA Iran has launched a major military exercise designed to test combat doctine as well as indigenous weaponry.

Iran's military launched the first stage of Operation Blow of Zolfaghar on Saturday near the Pakistan border in wake of Hizbullah's war against Israel.

The military said the exercise would move to 15 other provinces throughout the country, Middle East Newsline reported.

"The enemy has gone insane because of the capabilities of Lebanon's Hizbullah," Iranian Army commander Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi said. "And given the insane enemy's history, we should always be prepared."

Officials said Zolfaghar would demonstrate a new anti-aircraft doctrine to repel any Israeli or U.S. air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. They said the exercise would also test a range of indigenous air and ground platforms.

"The main objective of this operation is to adopt up-to-date tactics and use new equipment to be able to respond to possible threats, enabling us to confront the enemy in several fronts in the country," Brig. Gen. Kiumars Heydari, spokesman for the exercise, said. "We have been alert and watching global developments and we have invested in both modern tactics and equipment."

This was the first major Iranian exercise since April 2006. During a week-long exercise, Iran demonstrated a range of surface-to-air, anti-tank and sea missiles.

"Army commandos, parachutists, mobile shoulder-firing units, electronic war forces and rapid reaction units enjoying high combat capability will demonstrate their readiness during the wargames," Heydari said.

Copyright 2006 East West Services, Inc.

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