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svgadminsvgNovember 18, 2011svgNews

Iran Launches Four-Day Military Drill

Iran launched an air defense exercise on Friday, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported.

According to the report, the exercise is being carried at the Seal of the Prophets military base in eastern Iran. As part of the exercise, an attack on all of Iran, and in particular on its nuclear facilities, will be simulated.

The exercise will last four days and will include four different stages, the report said. The military will use advanced missiles systems and artillery during the drill.

In addition to the Air Force and the Iranian defense units, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards will also take part in the drill. Aircraft movement will not be permitted in some regions in eastern Iran during this time period.

News of the drill came after the IAEA censured Iran earlier on Friday over mounting suspicions it may be seeking to develop atomic bombs.

The resolution, which was adopted by 32 votes for and two against, expresses “deep and increasing concern about the unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program, including those which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions.”

It calls on Tehran to open up fully to UN inspectors and investigators and “engage seriously and without preconditions in talks” to address nuclear concerns.

Iran’s military drill comes amid many reports over the past few weeks that Israel might launch a military strike on Iran in order to prevent its nuclear program.

Israeli officials have mostly avoided directly addressing the issue of a military strike, though the government’s position as reiterated at the Knesset plenum this week is that “everything is on the table” in regards to Iran.

On Wednesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told interviewer Charlie Rose that the only way to stop Iran’s nuclear program is to have world powers “join hands” and place crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Rose asked Barak about the possibility of a military strike on Iran, to which Barak replied, “We think that any means should be used, and at the same time we recommend to our friends in the world not to remove any option from the table.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday he would raise American concerns about the unintended consequences of any military action against Iran during his meeting with Barak. The two were due to meet on Friday in Halifax, Canada.

Panetta said the United States believed the most effective way to confront Iran still was to use diplomatic pressure and sanctions.

At the same time, recent reports have suggested that the U.S. might also support a strike on Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama administration is reportedly considering arming Qatar with huge bunker buster bombs, raising the possibility of an American-Israel-Arab attack on Iran.

On Thursday, the Pentagon held a successful test flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound on Thursday. The bomb will give military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than an hour, the report said.

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