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Iranian military exercise "Great Prophet III" vs US navy drill
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16:51, July 10, 2008

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Persian Gulf is loomed or overshadowed with war clouds and the situation in the region seems to be very critical and explosive at present, Arab media said on Tuesday or July 9th. Iran's "New International TV Station" also reported that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards fired a "Shahab 3" medium-range missile, which can carry a 1,000 kg payload to a range of 2,000 km, (with its designed range of 2,500 km). So, it is capable of reaching Israel's territory and all military bases of the US armed forces in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards also test-fired nine missiles with varied ranges, including the "Zelzal" missile, with a range of up to 400 km, and the "al-Fatah" missile with a range of 170 km. Moreover, the Iranian military displayed a new-generation unmanned airplane to outsiders.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards have since July 7 launched a large-scale military exercise codenamed "The Great Prophet III", involving mainly its navy, air force and missile forces with an aim to cope with any possible military strikes from the United States and Israel.

On the same day, a US navy drill was launched in the waters of the Persian Gulf. The two military exercises are very intriguing. The Iranian military exercise was launched after the U.S. announcement of a navy drill and so Iran apparently conducted its maneuvers for both the U.S. and Israel to see, according to some Middle East press media agencies. The U.S. military announced on Monday or July 7th that it would launch a large scale navy drill in the waters of Gulf, during which American marines would perform how to protect oilfields, how to ensure the security of oil facilities and oil transport shipping routes, and how to battles against oil smuggling. Iran had beaten time to it and launched the exercise hours before the US navy drill began.

The US navy drill was designed to cope with possible assaults from small-size warships and torpedoes Iran might launch at the strategic Strait of Hormuz, acknowledged Middle East military experts, as such small yet effective "assault and harassment warfare" is Iran's leading tactic once any war breaks out. It is also reported that a British warship and a Bahrainian naval vessel partook in the drill besides a U.S. naval vessel.

At the same time, the dispute between the U.S. and Iran has been escalating. On July 8, a senior general from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said, once the Iranian nuclear facilities are attacked, Tel Aviv and the US Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf would be turned into a "sea of fire".

Ali Shirazi, a mid-level cleric, who is supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Kamenei's representative to the Revolutionary Guards, said that the Iranian nation will never accept bullying. And Shirazi was quoted as saying in a speech to Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday or July 8 that "the Zionist regime is pressuring White House officials to attack Iran and, if they commit such a stupidity, Iran will hit Tel Aviv, U.S. shipping the Gulf and American interests around the world provided it is attacked over its disputed nuclear activities."

The face-off between the U.S. and Iran is so worrying, and people across the globe hope that their dispute will merely remain verbal.

By People's Daily Online and its author is Huang Peizhao, PD resident reporter in Egypt

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