Iran trains thousands of 'martyrdom seekers'

Friday, November 10, 2006

NICOSIA Iran has reported the formation of an army of suicide fighters which it hailed as "trained professionals" with the mission of countering a ground invasion.

Iranian officials said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has recruited thousands of people and trained them for suicide missions. The officials said the recruits were taught how to blow themselves up in front of oncoming enemy main battle tanks and troop carriers as well as how to cross minefields.

"The Revolutionary Guards does not only depend on its technological might because it has thousands of martyrdom seekers and they are ready for martyrdom-seeking operations on a large scale,'' IRGC commander Gen. Yahya Safavi said.

In an interview on Iran'a Al Alam television on Nov. 5, Safavi called the suicide troops "trained professionals", Middle East Newsline reported. He said the troops would be used to stop any ground invasion of Iran.

In 2005, an organization aligned with IRGC announced the formation of an army of suicide attackers. The IRGC also commands the Basij paramilitary force, comprised largely of seminary students.

The IRGC has been leading the current "Great Prophet" military exercise in the Gulf. The 10-day exercise has included the launch of hundreds of indigenous missiles and rockets in one of the greatest displays of firepower by Iran's military.

On Monday, Iran tested what officials termed new automatic cannons and rocket launchers. They said the range of both systems was between 75 and 120 kilometers.

"It is the first time that a new generation of automatic cannons with a range of 75 kilometers has been successfully tested," military spokesman Brig. Gen. Ali Fazli said.

For his part, Safavi said Iran plans to offer its line of missiles and rockets to countries. Iran has reported a defense export clientele of 59 countries.

"We are able to give our missile systems to friendly and neighboring countries,'' Safavi said. "We have military weapons which we have not shown off, but we will do in the next maneuvers."

Copyright 2006 East West Services, Inc.

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