Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Iran's Revolutionary guards start wargames

From correspondents in Tehran January 23, 2007 04:36am IRAN'S Revolutionary Guards launched war-games in central Iran today and said they would test two models of home-made missiles, state radio reported. The war-games come at a time of rising tension between the West and Iran. Western capitals say Tehran's nuclear program is aimed at producing nuclear weapons but Tehran adamantly denies this charge. "In the four-day long missile war-games in Garmsar area, the Zelzal-1 and Fajr-5 missiles will be tested," state radio quoted a Guards spokesman saying. Garmsar is a small city located 100km southeast of Tehran, adjacent to the unpopulated Garmsar desert. The Guards have in the past demonstrated and test fired many Iranian-made missiles. The report said Zelzal-1 had a range of more than 350km and Fajr-5 could hit targets more than 70km away but some military experts say the Zelzal-1 has a shorter range. State radio said the Revolutionary Guards ground force units would start arming and firing the missiles today. Iran has staged several war-games in the past year, including firing some of its long-range Shahab-3 missiles, which Iran says have a range of 2000km, putting Israel or US bases in the Gulf in range. The war-games have been seen by military experts as muscle flexing, aimed at showing off Iran's capabilities in the face of pressure from the United States. The United States said it wants a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff, but refused to rule out military action if diplomacy fails.

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