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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US fighters violate Iranian air space: report

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Jan 2, IRNA -- A US warplane has violated Iranian air space, 
this time a border edge near Afghanistan in the eastern province of 
Razavi Khorassan, in the latest spate of such overflights reported by 
the press. 
According to the evening daily Kayhan, an American fighter entered
Iranian air space Thursday night, flying over the southern border 
strip at Iran`s Mousa-Abad region for several minutes. 
The US warplane flew back to Afghanistan, from where it had 
entered the Iranian airspace, the paper added. 
Kayhan further quoted an unknown source as saying that three US 
warplanes had again violated Iranian air space in the southwestern 
cities of Khorramshahr and Abadan near the Iraqi border. 
"The three warplanes, of F-18 Hornets and F-16 Tomcats types, 
held overflights at high altitudes near the Khorramshahr and Abadan 
air borders. 
"The circular maneuvering of the two American fighters indicated 
them as carrying out spying sorties and controlling the borders," the 
paper quoted the source as saying. 
The report came less than a week after Iran`s Air Force chief, 
Brigadier Karim Qavami was quoted as having ordered the forces under 
his command to open fire and shoot down any unidentified aircraft 
violating the country`s air space. 
"Given that the intrusion of enemy aircraft over Iran`s air space 
is possible, all fighter jets of the country have been ordered by the 
Army chief to shoot them down in the event of sighting them," the 
daily Kayhan quoted Qavami as saying last Saturday. 
The Air Force chief stressed that `any flight (within Iranian air 
space) must be coordinated, or else it will be targeted`, the daily 
added. 
Iran has been wary of the occupation forces` presence on its 
doorsteps in Iraq and have had their movements under close scrutiny. 
In August, press reports said that five US warplanes had entered 
Iran`s air space from the southwestern Shalamcheh border and flown 
over the city of Khorramshahr. 
According the Persian daily Seday-e Edalat, `the jet fighters 
which flew at high speed and altitude, then headed to the Arvand 
River`. 
"While the objective of the fighters` violation of Iranian air 
space is not known yet, some military specialists believe such moves 
are aimed at assessing the sensitivity of the Islamic Republic`s 
anti-aircraft defense system," the paper said at the time. 
In June, Iranian naval guards seized three British boats with 
eight crew in the country`s territorial waters in Arvand river, which 
borders Iraq. 
The servicemen, two Royal Navy sailors and six Royal Marine 
commandos, were later released. 
Qavami also reiterated the readiness of the Iranian air force to 
confront any foreign threat to the country`s nuclear sites. 
"We have made planning not only for nuclear centers but also for 
sensitive and strategic sites," Kayhan quoted him as saying. 
His statements came days after army chief General Mohammad Salimi 
was quoted as saying that the air force has been ordered to be 
prepared to defend the country`s nuclear sites in the event of an 
attack. 
"The air force has been ordered to protect the nuclear sites, 
using all its power," the daily Iran quoted Salimi as saying, adding 
the air force had temporarily suspended all its maneuvers in order to 
focus its capabilities on patrolling the skies over Iran. 
Such statements have raised the stakes in a war of words amid 
foreign press speculation about possible Israeli and American attack 
on Iran`s nuclear facilities. 
Iranian military commanders have warned of grave consequences if 
any such attack takes place. 
Israeli Defense Minister Shaoul Mofaz was cited to have tried to 
`calm things down` concerning the possibility of the Zionist regime 
striking Iranian nuclear installations. 
"We have to calm things down concerning the so-called intentions 
attributed to Israel of attacking Iran," AFP quoted Mofaz as saying. 
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