Iran begins first phase of air defense drill

ByJPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
November 18, 2011 20:56

Four-day defense exercise begins, IRNA reports, as Iran lashes out at IAEA resolution censuring Iran about nuclear activity.




A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor

A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor 311 R. (photo credit:Reuters/ Raheb Homavandi)

The Iranian military on Friday kicked off the first step of a four-day air defense drill state-run IRNA reported.

Air force and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps units were reportedly participating in the military exercise in eastern Iran.

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Meanwhile, a senior Iranian official responded to a International Atomic Energy Agency resolution voicing growing concern about his country’s nuclear work, saying it would only strengthen Tehran’s determination to press on with its disputed activities.


“The only immediate effect is a further strengthening of determination of the Iranian nation to continue its nuclear activities for peaceful purposes without any compromise,” said Ali Asghar Soltanieh, ambassador to the IAEA.

“We will not suspend our enrichment activities and our work for even a second,” he told reporters.

He was speaking after the 35-nation IAEA board adopted a resolution voicing “increasing concern” about Iran's nuclear program, keeping up pressure on Tehran after a recent IAEA report said it appeared to have worked on designing an atom bomb.

Soltanieh also cast doubt on whether the IAEA could send a high-level mission to Iran to address concerns about its nuclear program. IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said on Thursday he had proposed the trip and was awaiting a response.

“The mission cannot go now to Iran. But when and how, it should be thoroughly studied. Because now in fact everything is messed up by the director-general’s decision,” Soltanieh said, referring to the IAEA’s report.

Last week’s report presented intelligence indicating Iran has undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability. It has stoked tensions in the Middle East and redoubled calls in Western capitals for stiffer sanctions against Tehran.

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