Iran holds biggest exercise

Iran holds biggest exercise

Iran holds biggest exercise

Iranian revolutionary Guards look on prior to the launch of a Shahab-1 missile, during military maneuvers outside the city of Qom, in this 2011 file photo. AP photo

Iran “will not retreat one iota” from its nuclear rights, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday, ahead of the weekend’s crucial talks on Tehran’s nuclear activities with world powers in Istanbul.

“The Iranian nation is standing firm on its fundamental rights, and even under the harshest pressure will not retreat one iota from its undeniable rights,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the southern town of Minab, according to the official IRNA news agency. “On behalf of the Iranian nation, I advise the enemies and the arrogance [the United States] to change their behavior towards our nation, and they should know that the Iranians are standing firm in defending their rights,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse.

His language indicated a defiant attitude on Iran’s part, as its negotiators go into the Istanbul talks on Saturday to meet representatives of the so-called P5+1 group, comprising the five permanent United Nations Security Council members plus Germany. These will be the first such negotiations since a failed round of talks, also held in Istanbul, broke off in January 2011.

Meanwhile, Iran’s army and Revolutionary Guards will hold joint military exercises in the south of the country for the first time since the Islamic Revolution, a senior Iranian army commander said on April 11. “The largest joint maneuver between the army and the Guards will be staged for the first time this year,” Iran’s Press TV quoted General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan as saying. Pourdastan said eight military drills will be held by different forces in various areas and they will carry out a special joint air exercise.

The Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian army act as parallel ground forces, but while the regular army is tasked with defending the country and maintaining civil order, the job of the Revolutionary Guards is to protect Iran’s Islamic regime. The Revolutionary Guards is designated a terrorist organization by the United States. Pourdastan said the exercises would be performed using live ammunition and in battle conditions, to prepare soldiers for war.

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