Iran to stage military drill near Turkish border

September 03, 2012, Monday/ 18:04:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Iran is preparing for its second military drill in recent months along its border with Turkey, according to Iran's senior defense commanders, who have stated Tehran will deploy missile and electronic warfare systems in northwestern Iran, as reported by the Milliyet daily on Monday.

According to Milliyet's report, Iran will conduct an extensive military drill from Sept. 21-Oct. 21.

“The [Revolutionary] Guards and the military will carry out a drill involving the entire air defense system,” an Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Farzad Ismaili, told Iranian media on Sunday.

The main purpose for the military drill, according to Ismaili, is the protection of the country's nuclear facilities. “Our nuclear facilities are our top priority,” Ismaili said. In addition to the air defense system, bombers and fighter jets will participate in the drill. There will also be unexpected scenarios played out to test the country's crisis management.

In a talk with Iran's Mehr news agency, northwestern air defense command head Rasoul Rezvani-Kia said there are already more than 300 military bases in the northwestern region of the country. Iran borders Turkey and Iraq in the northwest.

In normal conditions, Iran typically carries out two military training operations a year. It has been suggested by political analysts that another military training drill has been planned so soon after Iran's regular military exercises in July as a response to claims by Israel that it will attack Iran.

Netanyahu urges international ‘red lines' to stop Iran

On the same day Iran issued the statement regarding its military drill, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to set a “clear red line” for Tehran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear arms. Complaining about Iran's accelerating nuclear activities despite warnings from and sanctions imposed by the international community, Netanyahu said: “I believe the truth must be stated: The international community is not placing a clear red line for Iran and Iran does not see international resolve to stop its nuclear program.”

Netanyahu's remarks suggest a growing impatience with Israel's main ally, the United States, and other countries that have been pressing him to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to work and to hold off on any go-it-alone strike on Iran.

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