Iran to stage missile wargames from Monday

AFP – June 26, 2011

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards are to launch military exercises on Monday with the firing of different range ballistic missiles, the state news agency IRNA reported.

The exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-6, are to start on Monday, said a Guards commander, General Ami Ali Hadjizadeh, quoted by IRNA, without specifying how long the manoeuvres will last.

“Short-, medium- and long-range missiles will be fired, especially the Khalij-Fars, Sejil, Fateh, Ghiam, and Shahab-1 and -2 missiles,” he said.

The general, whose force carries out wargames each year in the Gulf region, said the latest exercises were “a message of peace and friendship to the countries of the area.”

In late May, Iran said it had equipped the Revolutionary Guards with a new surface-to-surface missile, the Qiam-1, which was built locally and test-fired last August.

Iran says it has a wide range of missiles, some capable of striking targets inside arch-foe Israel as well as US bases in the Middle East.

The Islamic republic regularly boasts about developing missiles having substantial range and capabilities, but Western military experts cast doubt on its claims.

Iran’s missile programme is under the control of the Guards.

Its space and missile programmes have been a concern in the West, which fears Tehran is developing a ballistic capability to launch potential nuclear weapons which it suspects Iran aims to develop under the guise of its civilian atomic programme.

Iran has steadfastly denied these Western charges, saying its nuclear and space programmes have no military objectives.

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