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Iran's Elite Guards to Hold War Games

AP | February 18, 2007

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards will launch their second war games in a month on Monday, just days ahead of a U.N. deadline regarding Iran's nuclear program.

The Revolutionary Guards will begin three days of ground maneuvers, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Sunday

"The guards will practice various kinds of fighting tactics including tactics of asymmetrical warfare," the report said without elaborating.

The exercises are to take place in 16 of Iran's 30 provinces, IRNA reported. Some 60,000 troops were expected to participate -- in line with past exercises. The games were planned before the United Nations Security Council approved economic sanctions against Iran on Dec. 23.

In December, the council gave Iran 60 days to halt uranium enrichment, otherwise it will consider taking additional measures beyond the sanctions in place. Enrichment is necessary to produce fuel for nuclear reactors, but also to make nuclear weapons.

As tensions rise over Iran's nuclear standoff with the West, the United States and Iran have pursued an escalating series of military moves, with Washington sending more aircraft carriers to the region and Iran responding with more frequent maneuvers.

The Revolutionary Guards is an elite military corps with more than 200,000 members and its own naval and air forces. It is independent of the regular armed forces and controlled directly by the supreme leader. It oversees vital interests such as oil and natural gas installations and the nation's missile arsenal.

In January, the Guards held three days of war games.

The United States and several of its Western allies believe that Iran is using the nuclear program to produce an atomic weapon -- charges Iran denies, saying its aim is to generate electricity.


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