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. Iran's air force ready to defend nuclear sites: army chief
TEHRAN (AFP) Dec 22, 2004
The Iranian military led by the air force has been ordered to stand ready to defend the country's nuclear sites in case of attack, army chief General Mohammad Salimi said Wednesday.

"The air force has been ordered to protect the nuclear sites, using all its power," Salimi said, quoted by the government daily Iran.

"The air force has temporarily suspended all its maneuvers and focused its means on patroling the sky," he added.

"All our forces including land forces, anti-aircraft, radar tactics ... are protecting the nuclear sites and an attack on them will not be simple," the general said.

American newspapers and the regional press have speculated over a possible US or Israeli attack on the nuclear sites of Iran, which the Jewish state and Washington suspect of working to develop the bomb.

US and Israeli officials have denied any such plans.

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