The Iranian Army has launched its biggest nationwide air defense drill to prepare against any possible attacks “on public or nuclear sites.”
Arial defense units from the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are taking part in the three-stage five-day defense maneuvers dubbed “Modafean Aseman Velayat 3,” (the Guardians of Islamic Skies), Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.The nationwide air maneuvers, which kicked off early Tuesday, are being held near Iran’s “nuclear and vital Â landmarks” and include tests of long-range anti-air missiles.
The drills aim to enhance response capabilities in countering threats against the county’s populated, vital, strategic and nuclear landmarks.
Iran has held several major defense drills in recent months amid threats made and accusations leveled against the country’s peaceful nuclear program by the US and its allies.
Iranian officials have repeatedly refuted the charges, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency Tehran has every right to pursue peaceful nuclear technology.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the US to threaten Iran with military measures to stop its civilian nuclear program — a call rejected by Washington.
“The only way to make sure that Iran does not arm itself with nuclear weapons is to create a credible threat of a military operation against it if it does not cease the race for nuclear armament,” the office of Netanyahu claimed on November 10.
Such rhetoric comes from a regime that is widely believed to be the only entity in the Middle East that possesses over 200 nuclear warheads and refuses any inspection of its nuclear facilities by international regulatory bodies. Yet, the US and other Israeli allies in the West have ignored the issue over the years.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi on Monday reacted to Netanyahu’s remarks, saying Israel is a tool used by the West to wage war against Muslim nations and destroy their power.
“We should not expect Israel to talk of peace, reconciliation or not waging war,” General Firouzabadi said.
Iranian officials have warned that any act of aggression by the United States or Israel against any targets in the Islamic Republic would induce a firm and immediate response that would not be limited to targets in the Middle East region.