Iran Kicks Off 5 Days of War Games
Drill meant to boost air defense of nuclear facilities
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2009 7:42 AM CST
This image from Iranian Television shows a Shahab-3 missile being launched, which officials have said has a range of 1,250 miles and is armed with a 1-ton conventional warhead.   (AP Photo/Iranian TV via APTN)

(Newser) – Iran today begins large-scale air defense war games aimed at protecting the country's nuclear facilities, state television reports, adding that the five-day drill will cover a third of the country, including regions that are home to Iran's nuclear facilities. The drill involves both Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, the paramilitary Basij forces affiliated with the Guard, as well as army units.

Also today, Iran's defense minister said he planned to pursue designing and producing its own air defense missiles—comments apparently made in response to a US-pressured delay in the delivery of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. Israel and the US have opposed the missile deal out of fear Iran could use the system to boost air defenses at its nuclear sites. Israel has not ruled out military action to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.