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Iran Launches Military Maneuvers

January 21, 2007 -- Iran's state television has reported that the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps today launched three days of military maneuvers, including short-range missile tests.

"In these exercises we will assess the operational capabilities of Zelzal and Fajr 5 missiles," AFP quoted Majid Ayeneh, an artillery commander of the Revolutionary Guards, as saying.

The news agency cited military sources as saying the Fajr 5 has a range of about 75 kilometers, while the Zelzal can travel up to 400 kilometers.

The exercises take place near Garmsar city, in northern Iran on the edge of Kavir desert, some 100 kilometers southeast of Tehran.

UN Sanctions Defied

The military exercises are the first since the UN Security Council imposed sanctions against Iran on December 23, 2006, calling for the suspension of Iran's nuclear program.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said today that UN Security Council resolutions against Tehran would not affect Iran's nuclear policies even if 10 more of them were passed.

"The sanctions are from 30 years ago. They live in the past. Who do they want to impose further sanctions on? Us? This will be to their own disadvantage," Ahmadinejad said. "They are now sending us messages from all directions announcing they want to continue talks. Of course we oblige. But why is it acceptable for them to continue developing and producing bombs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but we can't even develop nuclear energy? Is energy more dangerous than bombs?"

Ahmadinejad made the statement in a speech to parliament broadcast live on state television.

The West fears Iran's nuclear program is aimed at making nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.

(AP/AFP/Reuters)

Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org



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