Iran inaugurates new air base near Afghan border

New base meant to protect against possible strike by enemy forces operating inside Iran.

October 9, 2007 13:59
Iran inaugurates new air base near Afghan border

iran planes 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

Iran has inaugurated a new air base near its eastern border with Afghanistan to protect against a possible strike by enemy forces operating in the country, state television reported Tuesday. The new base is part of a broader military build-up by Teheran, which is concerned about the US military's presence in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan at a time of heightened tension between the two nations. "Inauguration of this airbase was aimed at responding to a possible strike swiftly and strongly if a strike or attack is launched against the country," the head of Iran's air force, General Ahmad Mighani, told state television. US President George W. Bush has refused rule out military intervention as a way to respond to Iran's controversial nuclear program, which Washington believes is cover for weapons development - a charge Teheran denies. The US also accuses Iran of supporting Shi'ite militias in Iraq. Mighani said the base, which was inaugurated Monday, was meant to boost the presence of Iran's air force in the eastern part of the country. Most of the country's 12 air force bases are currently situated in the west. The new air base is located in Birjand, some 1,300 kilometers southeast of the capital, Teheran.

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