Missile test was not a provocation

TEHRAN, July 13 (MNA) -- Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami asserts that Iran’s missile tests are “preventive defense” exercises which form the core of the Islamic defense system.

“The defense mechanism of Islam is based on a preventive defense strategy,” Khatami told the Mehr News Agency on Friday.


Ayatollah Khatami emphasized that the Islamic Republic would never invade another country.


He went on to say that if the enemies dare to take any evil action against Iran, they will never again be able to sleep well at night.  


The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test-fired nine long- and medium-range surface-to-surface missiles, including the upgraded version of the Shahab-3, in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday.


The tests came in response to threats by the United States and Israel, which have said they may strike Iran’s nuclear sites if Tehran refuses to halt its uranium enrichment program.


The missiles included an upgraded version of the Shahab-3 missile, which officials have said could reach targets 2,000km away.


The Mehr News Agency also spoke to a number of officials and experts last week to learn their views on the issue of the recent maneuver.


“The exercise was meant to demonstrate Iran’s might and determination to the enemies, who in recent weeks have used harsh rhetoric to threaten Iran,” IRGC Air Force Commander Hossein Salami said.


“We fire these missiles in honor of Iran to say that they are a small part of Iran’s military might,” he stated.


Salami added, “We warn the enemies, who intend to threaten us with military exercises and empty psychological operations, that our hand will always be on the trigger and our missiles will always be ready to be launched.”


“The enemies need to know that Iran is scrutinizing their activities wherever they are.”


Iran ready to mount strong counterattack to any aggression


MP Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said, “The maneuver demonstrates Iran’s military capability to launch a strong counterattack in the event of any provocative action or invasion.”


The Great Prophet III maneuver was conducted using domestically produced equipment, he noted.


“The aim was to prevent other countries from interfering in the region,” he added.


The maneuver was completely defensive in nature, and “it had no military offensive objective,” Falahatpisheh stated.


Iran has the right to conduct maneuvers


MP Mohammad Esmail Kausari, who also sits on the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said, “When superpowers hatch plots and make threats against the country, it is incumbent on us to display our might and prove that these psyops do not influence us.”


“The West may intend to threaten regional nations, but Iran, by displaying its might to neighboring countries, has proven there will be no threats to them,” he added.


Describing the IRGC maneuver as a preventive measure, the MP said neighboring countries did not feel threatened by the maneuver, but it made the U.S. and Israel worried.


The Western media is implementing a massive propaganda campaign meant to suggest that Israel and the United States plan to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.


Iran has many domestically-produced missiles at hand


Former IRGC commander Hossein Alai noted that the IRGC successfully test-fired a number of domestically-produced missiles in the recent maneuver.


The United States has suggested that the Israeli military’s recent maneuver in the Mediterranean, which utilized 100 F-15 and F-16 jets, was a practice run for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and “this was a natural response from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Alai stated. 


Pointing to the necessity of informing the enemy of the cost of its behavior, the strategic affairs expert added, “If the Israelis are thinking about attacking Iran, they should be aware that Iran will swiftly respond. Thus, this maneuver was in fact a preventive measure.”


Israel conducted a military exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June, which was seen by some analysts as a rehearsal for an actual attack on Iran.


Maneuver was not a rejection of diplomacy


“A display of military might is not a rejection of diplomacy, and differentiating between diplomacy and military might requires a skill which the IRGC and the Islamic Republic of Iran possess,” university professor Ahmad Bakhshayeshi said.


“With the current status of the nuclear program, where on the one hand the West is calling for negotiations but on the other hand is using harsh rhetoric, it was natural that the Islamic Republic of Iran should give a proper response to this political-diplomatic propaganda campaign,” the strategic affairs expert added.


The West is trying to confuse Iran, Bakhshayeshi stated. 


Iran has announced that it is ready to negotiate with the 5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany), and at the same time decided to display its military might to flex its muscles in response to the recent Israeli threats, he observed.


UN in no position to interfere in maneuvers


Middle Eastern affairs expert Sadollah Zarei commented on the U.S. position that the IRGC maneuver was a violation of UN resolutions, saying the UN is in no position to interfere in the military exercises of independent countries.


This was a normal maneuver, just like Iran’s other exercises, he stated.


The Great Prophet III was a joint maneuver by the IRGC air and naval forces that was like other maneuvers of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which are conducted every year to increase the preparedness of the armed forces, Zarei added.


Washington calls Iran’s military exercise a violation of UN resolutions, although no UN resolution has ever placed restrictions on countries’ military exercises, and actually the UN is in no position to make declarations on these issues.”        






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