Iran to start "extensive" military maneuvers in Gulf Thursday 2006-11-01 17:41:08

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Iran launches military exercise

Iran said on Wednesday that it will stage "extensive" military maneuvers in the Gulf waters starting from Thursday, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

An Iranian Saeqeh jet launches rockets during a war-game in the northwest of Iran September 6, 2006.(Xinhua/AFP Photo)
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   TEHRAN, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Iran said on Wednesday that it will stage "extensive" military maneuvers in the Gulf waters starting from Thursday with the launch of ballistic missiles, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

    Major General Seyed Yahya Rahim Safavi, Commander-in-Chief of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), made the announcement while U.S.-led military maneuvers aimed at blocking smuggling of nuclear weapons material and arms proliferation were being held in the Gulf waters.

    The upcoming Iranian war games -- code named "The Great Prophet2" -- are due to be carried out till Nov. 11 in the Gulf waters, the Sea of Oman and 14 provinces of the country, Safavi told a press conference.

The maneuvers would be staged by the IRGC's air, ground and navy forces as well as the Basij militia troops, he said.

The IRGC chief said the war games would start with firing tensof missiles, including Shahab-2s and Shahab-3s with cluster warheads and range of over 1,000 km.

    "The foremost goal of the maneuvers is to show Iran's firm determination to defend the country against any possible threats," Safavi said.

    In April, Iran launched a large-scale military exercise with the code name of "The Great Prophet," the biggest in years, during which Iran said that it tested advanced weapons including missiles and torpedoes.

    On Sunday, the U.S. navy said that vessels from the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Australia and Bahrain began a naval training exercise off the Iranian coast in the Gulf aimed at blocking smuggling of nuclear weapons and arms proliferation.

The maneuvers were being held under the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) proposed by U.S. President George W. Bush in May, 2003. Bahrain's participation marks the first time a Gulf nation joins a PSI exercise.

    Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham on Monday urged foreign military forces not to damage Gulf peace, saying durable peace and security would be restored through collective cooperation of all countries of the region.

    However, Iran was not bothered about the PSI military maneuvers because the country "is powerful in all fields," the official IRN Anews agency quoted Elham as saying.

    "The Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept threats. Iran is a strong and powerful state and will not take maneuvers as a threat," he said. 


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Editor: Lu Hui
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