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Tuesday, September 7, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Iran prepares for attack, sets air defense exercise

NICOSIA — Iran has been preparing for a major air defense exercise meant to test its response to any Israeli or U.S. attack.

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Officials said the Iranian military would conduct an air defense exercise in September 2010. They said the exercise by the Air Defense Command would take place around Iran and test new surface-to-air missile systems.

"The exercise would test its most modern and latest systems," Brig. Gen. Ahmed Miqani, a leading air defense commander, said.

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Officials said the month-long exercise would be based in Mehr and begin on Sept. 22, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the command would test indigenous anti-aircraft batteries.

"We build whatever we want inside the country. and the production of long-range air defense system in Iran is already on the agenda of the Defense Ministry," Iranian Defense Minister Ahmed Vahidi said.

Officials said Iran has developed sufficient air defense capability to end its dependency on foreign systems. They cited the Russian-origin S-300 long-range air defense system, a nearly $1 billion contract held up by Moscow for the last 18 months.

"We will produce such systems in the near future," Miqani said.

Officials said Iran has focused on the development of medium- and long-range systems, including the Mesbah. They said some of the prototypes were capable of intercepting and destroying cruise missiles.

"The air defense systems' operational speed and range have been promoted thanks to the attempts made by our country's experts," Gen. Reza Taheri, a senior commander, said. "We are witnessing a leap in technology compared to previous systems."



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