Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 21
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is preparing to launch a "huge missile exercise".
IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced Aug.21 that a huge ballistic missile exercise would be carried out in near future, Fars News Agency reported.
According to the report, there have been rumors that the IRGC has stopped developing ballistic missiles, or the tests have been halted, or Iran's military program has been compromised (in nuclear talks), but the IRGC has been keeping its activities the same as in the past.
Hajizadeh said that the IRGC has achieved "great progress" over the past two years.
"Some exercises and tests have been happened during the last two year, but publishing the events on media outlets is the Supreme National Security Council's decision.
He said that the details on ballistic missile exercise would be announced in the near future.
Hajizadeh's statement came as Iranian top military official Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said Aug.12 the missile tests will continue on time, based on enactments, ordered by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
His statement was in response to Iranian lawmakers' demand to continue missile tests in the country, Mehr News Agency reported August 12.
Members of the Iranian Parliament in a statement addressed to Chief of Staff of Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi asked for the resumption of missile tests.
In a letter addressed to the Parliament last week, Firouzabadi had asked the MPs not to sign Iran's recent nuclear agreement -- called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA - because, he said, wrong interpretations of the deal by the US could affect Iran's military power.
The JCPOA has put bans on Iran's research and building of missiles that could carry nuclear warheads.
Iranian diplomats who reached the deal with the six world powers called the group P5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) refer to this point and say since Iran has no plan to build nuclear-related missiles, its missile program is not restricted by the deal.
Some critics inside Iran however believe that the US could claim any sort of missile developed by Iran is capable of carrying nuclear warheads, thus putting strict limits on the country's missile program.
The US has already considered some old versions of Iranian-made missiles such as the Shahab series capable of being equipped with nuclear warheads.
Edited by CN