WORLD

Iran’s war games start to escalate

CAMERON AINSWORTH-VINCZE September 22 2008
WORLD

Iran’s war games start to escalate

CAMERON AINSWORTH-VINCZE September 22 2008

Iran’s war games start to escalate

CAMERON AINSWORTH-VINCZE

Under the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran has taken great pride in antagonizing its enemies while defying the international community. The country has openly flaunted its ability to enrich uranium that could be used to make nuclear bombs, and it has vowed to destroy Israel. Now Iran

is twisting the knife with a series of colourfully named war games designed to show the world just how powerful it has become.

Fast week, the country’s English-language newspaper, the Iran Daily, reported that Iranian forces were about to begin an exercise to improve combat readiness. “Manoeuvres with the participation of anti-aircraft defence systems will be held for three days starting Monday,” reported the paper, without giving any further details. Other media sources speculate that the games could introduce locally produced fighter jets, and include the testing of new weapons and defence systems.

The mission comes a week after Iranian army chief of staff Gen. Atalolah Salehi declared that Iran’s air force would be conducting a military drill called Modafean-e Aseman (“Defenders of the Sky”) during the month of Ramadan, which began in Iran on Sept. 2. That follows the Payambar-e Azam 3 (“Great Prophet III”) exercise showcasing the launch of upgraded Shahab-3 ballistic missiles capable of destroying targets within Israel (made famous in a photograph that experts say was doctored to show an extra missile).

For now these demonstrations amount to little more than sabre rattling, but there is growing concern that the war games could escalate into real attacks. That’s because Iran isn’t the only country engaging in simulations: in June it was reported that Israel’s air force staged a mock strike against Iran. Tehran, defiant as always, maintains that it will not hesitate in fighting back if provoked. M