Iran begins Zolfaqar-1400 military exercises

An Iranian naval unit working with fast attack craft

THE IRANIAN Army has started large-scale military exercises in an area stretching from the eastern sector of the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the northern tip of the Indian Ocean and parts of the Red Sea, with the participation of airborne units, special forces, and rapid reaction brigades.

Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, spokesman for the joint drills codenamed Zolfaqar-1400, said troops of the Army’s infantry and armoured units, mechanised regiments, air defence units, naval units, and Air Force took part in the main stage of the exercise.
He said participating tactical and coastal units in the war game have successfully carried out various reconnaissance, surveillance, and combat exercises, employing different types of electronic warfare equipment and drones such as the homegrown Ababil-3, Yasir, Sadeq, Mohajer-4, and Simorgh unmanned aerial vehicles, besides P3F, RF4, and Boeing 707 aircraft.
He highlighted that Iranian Army and Navy marine and commando units carried out airborne, heliborne, and amphibious exercises, launched surprise attacks, and struck predetermined mock enemy targets.
‘The units used a wide variety of military equipment and weapons, including speedboats, fast attack craft, underwater propulsion vehicles, and rocket launchers,’ Mousavi said.
He also highlighted that the Iranian marines and commandos, regardless of tough topographical features of the area and intense attacks by mock enemy forces, utilised effective combat and reconnaissance strategies to prevent the latter from conducting surveillance activities and making on-ground progress.
He said the Iranian naval forces employed domestically-developed Azarakhsh, Shahab and Ra’d speedboats, which were equipped with rocket launchers, to destroy the mock enemy’s naval units.
Other missions carried out during the war game included naval mines planting, and coastal defence by artillery and heliborne operations.
Mousavi further hailed the sustainability of communications during the military drills, stating that, during the exercise, the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defence Force monitored the country’s airspace and that of the exercise zone, as the air defence units confronted the ‘enemy’ targets.
Elite Iranian Army fighter pilots and unmanned aerial vehicles also conducted air patrol operations.
Admiral Mousavi also pointed out that all stages of the Zolfaqar-1400 war game will be evaluated by experts of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Khatam-al Anbiya Central Command, and the Islamic Republic of Iran Army.
Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made great progress in developing and manufacturing a broad range of domestically-manufactured equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in this regard.
And Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored that the Islamic Republic will not hesitate to build up its defence capabilities which are entirely meant for the purpose of defence and will be never subject to negotiations.

  • The United States administration of Joe Biden’s first major weapons deal with Saudi Arabia is a ‘troubling’ indication of Riyadh’s intention to press ahead with its protracted military aggression against Yemen, warns an American scholar.

In a statement last Thursday, the Pentagon said the US State Department had approved the sale of $650 million worth of air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia to help Riyadh ‘counter current and future threats’.
‘The timing and rationalisation of the sale of $600 million dollars of so-called defensive air-to-air missiles is a troubling indication of a Saudi intention to continue its cruel policies of devastating Yemen,’ said Richard Falk, international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years.
‘The possession of a more secure missile defence allows the Saudis to continue their armed intervention in Yemen, and possibly elsewhere, with a reduced fear of retaliatory attacks,’ he warned in a TV interview last week.
Falk pointed to the so-called special relationship between Washington and Riyadh, saying the United States s seeking to safeguard Saudi interests and deflect criticism away from Riyadh at the United Nations.
‘The US is using its geopolitical leverage to shield Saudi Arabia from censure at the UN and elsewhere, again making a mockery of collective security commitments and the UN Charter’s unconditional prohibition of non-defensive force.
‘These special relationships make it clear that international relations continue to be shaped by the primacy of geopolitics rather than by international norms,’ the US scholar said.
Asked whether the sale ‘is fully consistent with the US administration’s pledge to lead with diplomacy to end the conflict in Yemen’, Falk replied negatively.
‘This is a patently false claim’ he said.
‘As mentioned, air-to-air missiles protect Saudi national political space allowing the Kingdom freedom to wage war outside its territory with substantially reduced expectations of having its homeland attacked.
‘In other words, the purpose of defensive weaponry is often to insulate offensive warfare from retaliation, and, given the Saudi record, this would seem to be the case here,’ Falk said.
‘Such militarism seems to add to Saudi war-fighting capabilities and offers no accompanying incentives to end the conflict in Yemen by reliance on diplomacy.
‘If a turn to diplomacy had been the intention, it could have been signalled by offering the Yemeni opposing forces equivalent military capabilities or conditioning the sale of the missiles on a good faith effort to resolve the conflict through negotiations.
‘There was no tangible or credible effort in this direction,’ he added.
The US scholar slammed the United Nation’s inaction in putting an end to the Yemeni conflict and said there would be no end in sight for the war so long as Saudi Arabia is ‘not placed under threat from other sources’.
‘We are witnessing one further instance of where the UN and international security is helpless in the face of geopolitical alignments that are dedicated to military solutions of political conflicts,’ Falk said.
‘From this perspective, there is no endpoint for Yemeni strife and human suffering visible, and none will likely emerge unless Saudi Arabia is threatened from other sources or confronted by significant internal pressures.
‘The death of Yemenis is unfortunately not part of the political calculations made by the cynical shapers of Riyadh’s foreign policy objectives,’ he underlined.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and regional allies, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement, which had overthrown the previous Saudi-backed Yemeni government.
The Saudi war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases.