Iran has embarked on a series of military drills, described in various sources as three- to five-day exercises, which will feature “a large volume of artillery fire and missiles.”
Khatam ol-Anbia airbase commander Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmayeeli, announced the combined army, navy, air force, and air defense exercise, named “Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 7.” He said that F-4 Phantoms and S300 missile systems would be tested, and suggested the airspace would be kept clear of civilian traffic.
Iran’s Fars news agency published Esmayeeli’s full remarks and revealed his air-traffic warning was more of a menacing threat to foreign aircraft, promising they would be instantly shot down if they enter the drill area:
Of course, we are witnessing the presence of a number of trans-regional planes outside the air and sea borders of the country but we emphasize that these planes should know their limits and know that we will take action in less than one second. They should fully keep away from the drills zone.
“The air defense system can engage in combat against various targets at any altitudes and it blocks the path of any hostile flying objects that intends to enter the country’s airspace,” Esmayeeli added, saying that Iran’s air defense capability has been tremendously improved by the addition of Russian-made S-300 missiles.
He boasted that Iran’s enemies “don’t even think of threatening the country,” as Fars rendered his comments.
On Tuesday, Iran declared it had successfully test-fired “mid-range missiles against hypothetical enemies that invaded some sensitive sites in southern parts of the country.”
Furthermore, a spokesman for the military exercise said these homemade Mersad and Ya Zahra-3 missiles were “successfully countered by the air defense systems used by Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base,” which is presumably a reference to the Russian S-300 missile system.
International Business Times notes that some 17,000 Iranian military personnel are involved in the exercise, which covers an area more than twice the size of the United Kingdom — an area that normally does see quite a bit of civilian air traffic.