Iran Guards raising defensive readiness, says commander

* Iran mounts air-to-air, air-to-surface missiles on drones

TEHRAN: Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jafari underlined his forces’ desirable military conditions, and said boosting defensive preparedness is high on the IRGC agenda.

“Today, the IRGC is in a desirable status and this revolutionary body is moving based on an approach which includes increasing its defensive preparedness and supporting Velayat (-e Faqih, the religious leadership),” Jafari said, addressing Imam Hossein battalions in the Northern province of Qazvin on Saturday. He also warned of enemies’ different plots against Iran, and said, “Today’s wars are fought not for waters or lands, but over beliefs.”

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Salami underlined that the Iranian Armed Forces are prepared to repel any kind of possible enemy threat against Iran. “The brave Iranian nation is not afraid of the enemy’s threats and sanctions as the country’s Armed Forces are in the best conditions of preparedness,” Brigadier General Salami said, addressing a gathering of seminaries in the Central City of Qom on Thursday night.

He pointed out that Iran’s eye-catching advances in different political, economic, military and scientific areas, and said, “Such advances have amazed the enemies of Iran.” Brigadier General Salami referred to the enemies’ plots, and said, “Today the Islamic Republic of Iran is in a calm situation despite being surrounded by instabilities in the Middle East.”

Also on Thursday, Commander of the Iranian Ground Force Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan reiterated that the country is now enjoying the best military force with unique features, that are fully prepared to confront any possible enemy threat and aggression under any conditions. Iran’s Armed Forces will be never shocked by enemies’ moves, Pourdastan stressed, addressing a gathering in Tehran. “Today, we are facing new threats that are totally different in terms of type, shape and size compared to those of the past,” he added.

Defense analysts and military observers say that Iran’s wargames and its advancements in weapons production have proved as a deterrent factor, specially at a time of heightened threats by Israel and the US.

Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes.

Yet, Iranian officials have always stressed that the country’s military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Army’s Ground Force has equipped its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles to reinforce its defensive measures, a senior commander announced Saturday. Commander of the Army Ground Force Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan made remarks on the sidelines of massive Ground Force drills underway in the Central province of Isfahan since Friday. The exercises codenamed ‘Beit ul-Moqaddas 26’ started in the presence of Pourdastan and a number of other high-ranking Army commanders.

The Ground Force staged the first phase of the drills by firing the latest home-made missiles in Isfahan province’s Nasrabad region near Kashan city on Friday and started the second stage of the exercises in the same region on Saturday. Pourdastan told reporters today that the Ground Force’s UAVs will have a major role in the drills, and added, “We will use all our drones which have reconnaissance, online imaging and suicide (attack) capabilities as well as the air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles mounted on them.” He said that his forces will also stage electronic warfare drills during which the Ground Force units will communicate with each other while staging offensive attacks against enemies’ communication systems.

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