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UPDATED: 09:35, August 20, 2006
"No air force nearby capable of antagonizing Iranian army": top general
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An Iranian top general said Saturday that his troop had such a high combat capability that no air force in the region could antagonize the army.

Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Dadras, commander of Iran's ground force, made the remarks to reporters in the operational zone of a massive military exercise which started earlier in the day, local Fars news agency reported.

"If any kind of incidence happened in the region, the army embarks on identifying its soft and strong points in a bid to boost its defense capabilities proportionate with the residing threats and to prevent any aggressive military action against our country," Dadras was quoted as saying.

"The Iranian ground force has manufactured various hi-tech weapons in the short run, and the military capability has been boosted to such a high level that no air force is capable of confronting the army of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the geographical extent adjacent to our borders," the officer said.

He, meanwhile, pointed out that the ongoing exercises "are aimed at improving and updating the army's tactics," adding "we have initiated to design various methods to cope with all kinds of threats which might exist against Iran in the best and easiest ways."

The brigadier general also disclosed that his ground force would test different kinds of remote-controlled missiles in the next stage of the war games.

The Iranian army launched a large-scale military exercise on Saturday, which will last for about five weeks.

Its first stage started in Iran's southeastern province of Sistan Baluchestan and the exercise will continue in 14 of Iran's 30 provinces.

According to the official IRNA news agency, assault and transport helicopters, parachutists, electronic war units and special forces will take part in the initial maneuver.

Earlier reports said that 12 infantry regiments would participate in the exercise dubbed "The Blow of Zolfaghar". Zolfaghar is the sword used by Imam Ali, one of the most revered figures for Shiite Muslims.

In April, Iran had launched another large-scale military exercise, the biggest in previous years. During the game, Iran said that it had tested advanced weapons including missiles and torpedoes.

The new military exercise came when Tehran is facing heightened pressure as a UN Security Council resolution urges Iran to halt uranium enrichment by Aug. 31.

Source: Xinhua

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