Iran conducts largest exercise ever

Monday, December 6, 2004

Iran has launched what officials termed its largest military exercise ever.

Officials said the Iran Army began the exercise on Dec. 3 in western Iran near the border with Iraq. They said the aim of the exercise was to demonstrate ground force capabilities and weaponry in an effort to deter any attack from the United States.

U.S. officials said the administration wants to increase defense and security cooperation with Saudi Arabia which is regarded as the key to the U.S.-led war against Al Qaida and the containment of Iran in the region, according to the current edition of

The exercise tested a range of indigenous missiles, rockets, armored personnel carriers, main battle tanks and unmanned aerial vehicles developed over the last decade. Officials said many of these weapons and platforms were introduced into service over the last two years, Middle East Newsline reported

Officials said the exercise included 10 infantry divisions as well as artillery, missile and electronic warfare units. They said the air force was providing support for ground units as part of a demonstration of the interoperability between the services.

The exercise also contained seven brigades and three air transport units. Four artillery units also participated in the exercise, which covered an area of 100,000 square kilometers in the provinces of Islam, Hamadan, Kermanshah, Khozstan and Lorestan.

During the live fire exercise, Iranian infantry troops fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades in an effort to block a mock ground invasion from Iraq. The air force was said to have transported equipment as well as carried out attacks in support of the ground forces.

In Manama, Iran and its Gulf Cooperation Council neighbors discussed a new regional security regime. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi told a Gulf security conference in the Bahraini capital on Sunday that what he termed "a collective security project" would ban its members from "signing unilateral agreements with outside powers that may threaten, directly or indirectly the security of other countries."

"The new regional organization would combat all sorts of terrorism and violence," Kharazi said in a message read at the conference.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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