December 6th, 2008
Wednesday, Dec. 3, the Iranian navy and air force began a six-day maneuver of marine and air might which Tehran radio said would cover an area of 50,000 square miles of the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran has threatened to block the narrow strait if attacked. Admiral Qasem Rostamabadi said its aim is to “increase the level of readiness of Iran’s naval forces and test domestically-made naval weaponry.”
This is stage two of a larger exercise dubbed Unity-87, DEBKAfile’s military sources report.
Air strikes against “which sank big enemy vessels” were said to be part of the war game, a clear reference to American air carriers, three of which are now present in waters opposite Iran. Iranian Navy chief Adm. Habibollah Sayyari boasted Wednesday: “Iran has pushed back the frontiers of naval capabilities to become the decisive maritime force in the region.”
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report that the exercise is part of Tehran’s preparations for a US and/or Israeli attack on its nuclear installations and RevolutTuesday, Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called the United States “the main enemy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He was speaking on the thirtieth anniversary of Iran’s post-revolutionary parliament (Majlis).
A senior Iranian official visiting Abu Dhabi at the end of November said that Obama’s decision to retain Robert Gates at the Pentagon was taken in Tehran as further confirmation of the coming attack in view of which he had resolved not to change war horses. Naming Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and Gen. James Jones as national security adviser was also interpreted as the harnessing of backers for an open military option. Every effort made to persuade the Iranians that Washington was not about to exercise this option has fallen on deaf ears.
ionary Guards bases which its political, military and intelligence strategists are convinced is on the way ahead of Barak Obama’s January 21 inauguration as US president.