Iran tests home-made air defence systems

By Sultan al-Barei in Riyadh and AFP


One of the new missiles unveiled during the latest 'Defender of the Sky' manoeuvres conducted by the Iran army and IRGC on October 21st. [Photo via Fars News Agency]

Iran on Wednesday (October 21st) tested home-made air defence systems during military exercises, state media said, days after the expiry of an international arms embargo against the Islamic Republic.

The manoeuvres -- dubbed "Defenders of the Sky" -- took place in "an area covering half of the country's surface", state television's Iribnews website reported.

They came after Tehran ruled Sunday that a UN arms embargo on its weapons had expired under the terms of the international agreement on Iran's nuclear programme and UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Iran on Monday said it was more inclined to sell weapons rather than buy them, after announcing the end of the longstanding embargo.

"In these exercises, the new generation systems of the army and Revolutionary Guard [IRGC] have shown their strength by relying on the power" of local production, said Iribnews.

The website said targets at medium and high altitudes were shot down by Iran's Khordad 3 and Khordad 15 air defence systems and that fighter jets took part in the manoeuvres.

"Our forces have achieved all the objectives set," Gen. Qader Rahimzadeh, who is commanding the exercises, told state television.

'Provocative move'

The lifting of the arms embargo allows Iran to buy and sell military equipment including tanks, armoured vehicles, combat aircraft, helicopters and heavy artillery.

It will cause more tension and wars in the Middle East, and the recent manoeuvres can only be seen as a continuation of the IRGC's provocative acts, said Fathi al-Sayed of al-Sharq Centre for Regional and Strategic Studies.

This week's manoeuvres are "a major provocative move in terms of both their timing and the large number of personnel and sectors that took part in them", he told Al-Mashareq.

Lifting the arms embargo will make it easier for the IRGC to transfer weapons to its proxies under several pretexts, he said, adding that it may also enable Iran to obtain new military technology to develop its military industry.

"This would pose a global danger... especially if we take into account Iran's relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons," al-Sayed cautioned.

"Despite the statements made by Iranian politicians that Iran does not want to boost its armament, the Iranian policy cannot be trusted because the ultimate decision is in the hands of the IRGC," he said.

Measures must be taken by the international community to reinstate the arms embargo and "spare the world, the Middle East region in particular, future disasters", he said.

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