This week Iran is undertaking its largest ever military exercise, stretching across huge swathes of the country, and involving about 8,000 elite and regular army troops backed by bombers and fighter planes, and the testing of missile, artillery and surveillance systems.
The ‘Velayat 4’ exercises have focussed on air defences, and are an effort to warn any nations against threatening the Islamic public.
Three, domestically built, missile and artillery systems have been unveiled today, which Farzad Esmaili, the head of Iran’s air defence headquarters, has stated will provide a significant boost to military defences.
Esmaili stated that, “the low-altitude missile system 'Ya Zahra 3' is completely indigenous and Iranian and has been designed and produced to suit internal needs.” The second missile system, the ‘Qader’, is small and highly portable, meaning that it can be deployed in less than 30 minutes; and the third artillery system, the ‘Safat’, is capable of eluding enemy detection.
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Michael Ellman, a missile expert at the IISS think tank, told Reuters to be wary against believing all of Iran’s claims. “Iran has a history of unsubstantiated boasts about its weapons and indigenous capabilities. Iran, while increasingly capable in the field of engineering and programme management, is years away from creating new air defence systems on its own.”
These military manoeuvres are taking place less than a week after the US Pentagon announced that one of its Predator drones had been attacked by Iranian aircraft. Iran claim they were just repelling an enemy that had violated its airspace.
The question remains, just how far can Iran keep on pushing before someone pushes back?
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com