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    Iranian Commander Announces Air Defense Maneuvers

    A top Iranian military commander is saying, Saturday, that the country's defense forces will conduct air defense maneuvers during the coming week. Iran's announcement comes after representatives of six world powers expressed disappointment, Friday, over its refusal to accept a U.N.-draft deal to send percent of its lightly-enriched uranium stockpile abroad.

    Iraninian jet fighters (file photo)
    Iraninian jet fighters (file photo)

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    A top Iranian military commander is saying, Saturday, that the country's defense forces will conduct air defense maneuvers during the coming week. Iran's announcement comes after representatives of six world powers expressed disappointment, Friday, over its refusal to accept a United Nations-draft deal to send 80 percent of its lightly-enriched uranium stockpile abroad.

    Iran appears to be playing both the military and the diplomatic fronts, Saturday, as the world awaits its next move in the as yet fruitless negotiations between Tehran and top world powers over its nuclear program.

    Brigadier-General Ahmed Mighani, who commands a key Iranian air-defense base, told a press conference that both the Revolutionary Guard and regular armed forces were planning to stage annual war-games to simulate the defense of Iran's nuclear sites against "hypothetical enemy attacks."

    The general, according to Iran's Fars news agency, insisted that Tehran is following a purely defensive military doctrine. He went on to explain that the nature of combat has changed and that his forces were "testing new strategies."

    He described a vast series of drills and mock wargames across central, western and southern Iran for five days, beginning Sunday, that will simulate a real attack on its installations:

    He says that the wargames will take place in a vast area of approximately 600,000 square kilometers in parts of central, western and southern Iran, and will employ different and new weapons systems, in addition to assessing Iran's communications systems that will be used in the event of electronic warfare.

    Meanwhile, top Iranian officials continued to play a diplomatic chess game with the West, Saturday, with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki telling reporters, before a trip to the Philippines, that the draft UN nuclear deal is illogical. 

    Mideast Media outlets have reported that Turkey and Iran are discussing the logisitics of a uranium exchange.  The Turkish foreign minister was in Iran on Friday.

    Meir Javedanfar of the Meepas Center in Tel Aviv argues that Iran is warning the West that it is capable of fending off both a military attack or new economic sanctions.

    "The Iranian government is feeling more and more under pressure and it sees President Obama as a strong partner, who's gathering international consensus against Iran, which could result in tough sanctions," he said. "So, they're trying to warn the international community that military action against Iran will not work, even if sanctions fail, and that Iran has its own way of building alliances, headed by Turkey, which is slowly replacing Russia, in order to fight off the threat of isolation."

    Senior officials from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany met in Brussels Friday to discuss Iran's nuclear program, expressing disappointment that Tehran has not accepted a deal intended to prevent it from producing nuclear weapons.

    The head of the U.N. atomic energy agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, urged Iran Friday to accept the draft nuclear deal that is now on the table.  He called the accord a "unique but fleeting opportunity."
                                                    

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