Iran's army to stage military exercises, warns "enemies"
TEHRAN (AFP) Oct 10, 2002
Several units of Iran's army are to stage exercises near the central city of Qom Friday to send a signal "so that no enemy will dare attack us", a top army chief said Thursday.

"The three-day exercise consists of maneuvres by various units of ground forces aimed at displaying the country's latest military achievements, as well as promoting defensive capabilities," the commander, Brigadier General Naser Mohammadi-Far, told state radio.

"The enemy should know that we will retaliate to any move from their side," he said, adding "we are preparing so that no enemy will dare to attack us".

He did not specify who the enemy was.

"We are getting ready as a deterrent power, in the hands of our supreme commander (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), so the Iranian people know they have capable forces to face the enemy," he added.

The report did not say how many troops would take place in the show of force, but Mohammadi-Far insisted they were purely defensive.

"We will never attack any country or group because we hate war, and in fact we have a message of peace for the world and neighbouring countries," he said.

Iran's defence finister, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, recently warned Washington to respect the "red line" of the Islamic republic's border with Iraq, saying his armed forces were ready for "any eventuality".