Omid Memarian

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Iran's Military maneuver

In response to the naval war games currently underway in the Persian Gulf by the United States and some Gulf states, Iranian military officials announced that they will hold a 9-day naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. An informed official anonymously told Entekhab online daily, “In this maneuver we will test different kinds of missiles including new ultra-modern and long-range missiles, cluster missiles and anti-helicopter Katyusha missiles. We will also examine underwater mines and submarines.”

The commander of the Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Major General Rahim Safavi explained the purpose of the exercise, which was to start on Thursday in these words: “The main purpose of this maneuver is to demonstrate Iran’s willingness to defend itself against any type of aggression.” This naval exercise, dubbed the “Great Prophet,” will also include the testing of Shahab-3 missile that has a range of 1300 to 2000 kilometers.

Rahim Safavi further said that, “Iran’s naval maneuver is not a threat against the region or Iran’s neighbors, whom Iran looks to as friends.” Safavi believes that the U.S. military exercise is a propaganda effort and without any military value.

Another purpose of this maneuver, in Safavi’s view, is to prepare and enhance the Revolutionary Guard’s capability to respond to possible threats: “The Revolutionary Guard’s air division will participate in this exercise in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman by firing tens of missiles including Shahab-3 and Shahab-2 with cluster warheads, Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar-73, also different kinds of rockets and missiles and manned and unmanned airplanes.”

On the other hand, the former head of Iran’s National Security Council, Hassan Rohani told reporters, “Our exercise is not about the nuclear issue because any country makes defensive preparations in proportion to the threats it faces. This exercise is being carried out to keep Iran’s armed forced prepared and up-to-date.” Rohani, who is also the head of the Council of Experts’ Strategic Studies Center, regards the U.S. maneuver in the Persian Gulf as a signal to Iran: “This maneuver is a signal from the U.S. and the West to us. But Iran is neither planning to fight anyone nor is it pursuing nuclear weapons, thus negating the need to send us such a signal.” Rohani also declared, “The nuclear issue is not something we can’t resolve or have to resort through confrontation.”


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