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Iran Tests New Automatic Cannons In War Games

Iran's Revolutionary Guards fire a Shahab-2 long-range ballistic missile during the first phase of military manoeuvres in the central desert outside the holy city of Qom, 02 November 2006. The Islamic republic also fired its Shahab-3 longer-range missile on exercise for the first time today as it began 10 days of war games amid a mounting standoff with the West over its nuclear programme. AFP Photo/Fars News
by Staff Writers
Tehran (AFP) Nov 6, 2006
Iran tested on Monday new automatic cannons and rocket launchers on the fifth day of war games aimed at showing off its defensive capabilities, the military said. "The range of cannons and rockets tested today is between 75 kilometres (45 miles) and 120 kilometres (75 miles) and it is the first time that a new generation of automatic cannons with a range of 75 kilometers has been successfully tested," the manoeuvre's spokesman, Brigader General Ali Fazli, was quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA.

Iran's elite revolutionary guards launched the 10-day war games last Thursday by firing, for the first time in manoeuvres, its longer-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile, triggering widespread international concerns.

The missiles have a range of up to 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) -- sufficient to threaten US bases in the Gulf.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran would "suffer greatly" if it used the weapon in anger while Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz urged the world to act over Iran's ballistic missiles testing.

Iran's revolutionary guards chief Yahya Rahim Safavi has said the Great Prophet II war games are aimed at showing off Iran's ability to defend itself against any threat and to test new military hardware.

Iran is engaged in a mounting standoff with the West over its sensitive nuclear programme, defying demands to halt activities world powers fear could be diverted to developing an atom bomb.

Iran insists its nuclear drive is aimed solely at generating energy.

earlier related report
Iran Guards Chief Plays Down US Threat
Tehran (AFP) Nov 6 - The head of Iran's elite revolutionary guards, currently overseeing 10 days of war games, said he did not see the United States as currently posing a military threat to the Islamic republic.

"Under the current circumstances the Americans are already involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not anticipate any military threat from them but naturally we do have defence and deterrent plans," said Yahya Rahim Safavi.

"The revolutionary guards and the armed forces both enjoy great defence and deterrent ability," he told Iran's Arabic-language television channel Al-Alam in an interview late on Sunday.

"I find it unlikely they (the United States) will cause us any problems because they know their forces within a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) could be endangered," he said, referring to the range of Iran's longer-range Shahab-3 missile.

"They understand the gravity of the situation and the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to defend all of its territory," he added in the interview, which was broadcast with an Arabic voiceover.

The United States is currently leading a drive to impose UN sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt sensitive nuclear work and while favouring diplomacy has never ruled out military action against Tehran.

However observers believe such a move is off the agenda for the moment.

Safavi said the Great Prophet II war games, which have so far seen the firing of missiles including the Shahab-3 and the display of new hardware, were aimed at showing off Iran's military prowess.

"The Americans through their satellites understand our ability and know we can produce advanced weaponry and all our manoeuvres and testing of our weapons are of a defensive and deterrent nature."

He also hinted the armed forces had more new weapons in development.

"In these manoeuvres we have tested some of our military might and we have equipment that is not known (to the outside) and we will show it off in the next manoeuvres."

He rejected suggestions that the Iranian war games were timed to coincide with US-led naval manoeuvres in the Gulf off Iran, the first time such an exercise has been held in the area.

"The great manoeuvre has no connection with the American manoeuvre in the Persian Gulf... The American manoeuvre has no military and operational value and basically it is a propaganda manoeuvre."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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