Jerusalem, Sept. 7 – Iran staged massive air drills in the northwestern section of the country Tuesday (Sept. 6). As part of a 10-day war-game exercise, fighter jets, fighter bombers and planes were used to simulate war situations and bomb targets.
“Iranian fighter jets, including Saeqeh (thunderbolt), will carry out hundreds of sorties during the war games and will drop high-tonnage smart and precision-guided bombs on mock targets,” Iran’s semi-official FARS News Agency reported today.
Iran also announced the successful testing of a “home-made radar-evading UAV with bombing capabilities.”
The advanced aircraft and war-game scenarios exemplify Iran’s foray into the manufacturing of fighter jets and its progress in the production of stealth aircraft and drones. Iran’s build-up of fighter weapons points to a larger question about its military ambitions – particularly its secretive nuclear program.
The military exercises come only a few days after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that many member states now have credible, “extensive and comprehensive” information that Iran “continues to work secretly on developing a nuclear payload for a missile and other components of a nuclear weapons program,” the Associated Press reported.
The IAEA report states: “Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities in the following declared facilities.”
The intelligence suggests enough uranium for six warheads.
An Iranian news agency also recently pointed out that Iran said it “will not undertake more commitments in negotiations with the IAEA.”
Already in May, The New York Times reported the IAEA’s frustration with Iran because of its refusal to answer questions about the purpose of its nuclear program. The NYT said the IAEA stated, for the first time, that it “possesses evidence that Tehran has conducted work on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology that experts said could be used for only one purpose: setting off a nuclear weapon.”
World leaders have pushed for international sanctions against Iran because of its non-compliance with IAEA inspectors and their questions about the nature of its nuclear program.
The Middle East Quartet’s Special Envoy Tony Blair said earlier this year: “I say this to you with all of the passion I possibly can -- at some point the West has to get out of what I think is a wretched policy or posture of apology for believing that we are causing what the Iranians are doing, or what these extremists are doing.”
“They [Iran] disagree fundamentally with our way of life and will carry on unless met with determination and, if necessary, force,” added Blair.
Iran’s leaders continue to say they seek Israel’s destruction and that they support Hezbollah and Hamas, two U.S.-designated terror organizations that vow to destroy Israel.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently said Jews and Israelis - “Zionists” - would face “definite death.” He was speaking by telephone to Hamas’ political leader Khaled Mashaal.