Iran began five days of war manoeuvres Sunday aimed at repelling a possible attack on the country's nuclear facilities, ostensibly by Israel. A senior aide said Iran would respond to such an attack with missile strikes on Tel Aviv.
AFP - A commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said on Sunday that air defence forces would "annihilate" Israeli warplanes if they attacked the Islamic republic, as the forces began five days of war games.
The manoeuvres are aimed at practising responses to simulated attacks on the country's nuclear facilities.
"Their (Israeli) F-15 and F-16 fighters will be trapped by our air defence forces and will be annihilated," Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Guards' air force wing, told the Fars news agency.
"Even if their planes escape and land at the bases from which they took off, their bases will be struck by our destructive surface-to-surface missiles."
An aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said on Saturday that if Iran is attacked, it will retaliate against the Israeli metropolis of Tel Aviv.
"If the enemy attacks Iran, our missiles will strike Tel Aviv," the official IRNA news agency quoted Khamenei's representative in the Guards, Mojhtaba Zolnoor, as saying.
The war games were announced on Saturday by Brigadier General Ahmad Mighani, head of army air defence, who said the main aim is to thwart aerial threats against Iran's nuclear facilities -- from reconnaissance to actual assault -- posed by an imaginary enemy.
"Due to the threats against our nuclear facilities it is our duty to defend our nation's vital facilities and so these manoeuvres cover Bushehr, Fars, Isfahan, Tehran and western provinces," Mighani said.
"Our unit will be in charge of the manoeuvres but there will be units from the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij (militia)," he added.
Iran's still non-operational nuclear power plant is in southern Bushehr province while its uranium enrichment plants are in Isfahan and near Tehran.
Western governments suspect Iran's nuclear programme is cover for a weapons drive but Iran denies any such ambition.
The United States and Israel have never ruled out a resort to military action to prevent Iran acquiring a bomb.
Iran has repeatedly held war games and boasted advances in its military capabilities in a bid to show its readiness to counter any threats over its nuclear programme.
Date created : 2009-11-22