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Thursday, September 1, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Iran Air Force to conduct combat exercise
with unspecified neighbor

NICOSIA — Iran intends to hold a combat air exercise with an unidentified country.


Officials said the Iranian Air Force would conduct the exercise with an unidentified regional state. They said the exercise would take place in September.

"This will be the first international combat exercise," an official said.

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Iranian Air Force deputy chief Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh confirmed the exercise. Nasirzadeh said the date of the combat maneuvers was not set and depended on the completion of arrangements with the unidentified country.

"Conducting any exercise indicates the Air Force's ability and readiness to achieve pre-determined objectives," Nasirzadeh said on Aug. 17.

In February, the Air Force disclosed Iranian plans to conduct an exercise with another country. Air force commander Brig. Gen. Hassan Shahsafi said Teheran was seeking a regional partner.

Iran has long sought to recruit Gulf Arab states for military exercises. Earlier this year, Qatar, which contains a U.S. military presence, conducted a maritime security exercise with Iran in the Gulf. Oman, another Gulf Cooperation Council state, has also agreed to military cooperation with Iran.

Teheran's Air Force consists of U.S-origin F-4, F-5 and F-14 fighter-jets obtained from Washington in the 1970s. The Air Force has also been operating MiG-29 fighter-jets from Russia.

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