Friday, October 31, 2008

Kish Air Show Gallery

Tragedy at the Kish Air Show

From IRNA:
The 54-year-old German pilot of a plane crashed on the Persian Gulf island of Kish has been killed.

The ultra-light plane crashed while performing air maneuver in the Fourth International Iran Kish Air Shows.

The pilot lost control of the ultra-light aircraft and lost his life as it hit Kish Airport runway.

Over 100 companies from Iran, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Canada, France, China, and a number other counties were participating in the Show.

The exhibition opened on Tuesday and ran until October 31.

More than 80 light and ultra-light planes were among the aircraft on display in the Kish exhibition.

The Show came on the heel of three previous such successful shows organized by the Kish Trade Promotion Center fully supported by Kish Free Zone Organization in cooperation of the Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran (CAO-IRI).

A large number of domestic companies active in the aviation, aerospace, airlines and other related industries, manufacturers, research institutes and universities as well as foreign companies took part at the show.

It exhibited vast range of products, systems and services in the aviation and aerospace fields.

The event received a warm welcome from the traders and specialists.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Iranian interest in the Antonov-148 jet

From PressTV:
A senior Ukrainian official has revealed that Iran is to purchase and later produce a version of the Ukrainian-made Antonov airplanes.

Dmitro Kiva, chairman of the Kiev-headquarters of the Antonov Aerospace Company, announced that Iran "will fully participate" in the subsequent production of Antonov-148 mid-range passenger jet, Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday.

The An-148, developed in Ukraine during the 1990s, is a twin-engine high-wing passenger plane designed for operation at rough airfields.

The Ukrainian official stated that the Iranian national aviation authorities are holding talks with their Ukrainian counterparts to make a version of An-148 which would be suitable for Iran's terrain.

"The Iranians are absolutely interested, they want to go forward on this," Kiva said.

Some 16 Russian and Ukrainian airlines and Cuba's national Cubania de Aviacion have voiced willingness to purchase An-148 once its production has begun.

The price for an An-148 once in production line would be between 18 and 22 million dollars depending on configuration, according to the Antonov Company.

New naval bases on Oman Sea coast

From PressTV:
Iran plans to build new naval bases along the Sea of Oman coast, east of the Strait of Hormuz to boost its military control over the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian Navy Commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Wednesday establishing an impenetrable defense line in the east of the Strait of Hormuz is in line with the Iranian Navy's new mission which is to maintain its powerful presence in the Persian Gulf region.

Sayyari added that the new bases would be soon built along the Iranian coastline from Bandar Abbas to Pasa Bandar.

"Should the enemy commit a foolish move, it will be sent into the depths of the Indian Ocean and Sea of Oman before reaching the Strait of Hormuz and entering the Persian Gulf," Sayyari said.

An estimated 40 percent of the world's oil supply passes through the Strait of Hormuz, which is the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

Iran has warned it could block the strategic strait, if its enemies dare to raise a military attack over its nuclear program.

Inaugurating a new naval base at the strategic port of Jask earlier this week, Iran's Deputy Army Commander Brigadier General Abdolrahim Moussavi said, "In the past, our military had to brace itself for countering regional enemies but today we are faced with extra-regional threats."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tough Talk from Iran after US raid into Syria

From Fars News Agency:
Iranian defense officials Tuesday said the armed forces of the country were ready to deal with enemy threats, specifically in electronic warfare.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar spoke of the technological developments of the nation's armed forces at a presentation at Malek Ashtar University of Technology in Isfahan.

He noted the military was in full combat readiness on all fronts, adding forces were ready to deal with any intimidation.

"We are ready to seriously deal with the enemies' threats in all areas, mainly in electronic warfare," he said.

Speaking of the global economy, Najjar said the world reaction to the crisis was a testament to the declining influence of Washington.

"We are witnessing that the world public opinion hates the United States," he said.

His comments follow earlier statements made by Mehdi Karroubi, an Iranian presidential candidate with the National Confidence Party, who said Tehran could repair relations with the United States if Washington "abandons its hegemonic objectives" in the region.

Other Iranian military officials also warned this week against a unilateral strike on the Islamic Republic in the wake of a US raid against Syria.

Deputy Army Commander Brigadier General Abdul-Rahim Mousavi told reporters on Tuesday that the time has come for the enemy to acknowledge Iran's defense capabilities.

"Recognition of Iran's naval mastery has traveled beyond the country's southern waters, and has reached the far ends of the Indian Ocean," said Brig. Gen. Mousavi.

The Iranian commander stressed that giant Western aircraft carriers and battleships do not intimidate world nations as they once did.

In a Tuesday statement, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' (IRGC) naval commander, Admiral Morteza Saffari said that Iran's navy has been reorganized and is ready to defend the nation against all threats.

"Iran's naval forces will make sure that the enemy will live to regret any act of aggression against the Islamic Republic," said Admiral Saffari.

Acting IRGC commander Mohammad Hejazi, meanwhile, vowed on Tuesday that Iran's armed forces would shield the nation from invaders and defend the Islamic Republic's national interest.

"IRGC forces have the determination and experience to guard Iran's national interests," said Brig. Gen. Hejazi.

"They (the enemy) should learn from the mistakes of the past and realize that Iran is unlike any other country in the Middle East," he added.

New generation Saegeh fighter planes

From PressTV:
A senior Iranian defense official says the country has successfully produced a new generation of Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) fighter jets.

The General Manager of Iran's Aviation Industry Organization in the Defense Ministry, Majid Hedayat, said Wednesday that the organization would soon launch a mass production line for the new fighter jets.

"The new generation of Saeqeh fighters are equipped with additional facilities and capabilities," Fars News Agency quoted Hedayat as saying.

Iran test flied the first generation of the home-manufactured 'Saeqeh' fighter jets in September 2007.

Hedayat added that Iranian experts have also produced other military planes, which would later join the Air Force squadron for naval patrolling purposes.

Interesting to see if the new generation of Saegeh will outnumber the low quantity production line of the last generation.

Kamov Ka-32A to be manufactured in Iran

From PressTV:

Russia has agreed to commence cooperation with Iran on mass producing semi-heavy choppers in the country, an Iranian official says.

The deal will see Russian firm Kamov cooperate with Iran's Aerospatiale Industries Organization (AIO) on designing and producing civilian helicopters.

"Under the agreement, more than 50 helicopters including in a new and civil design of the Kamov Ka-32A will be manufactured inside Iran," the CEO of the AIO, Majid Hedayat, said Wednesday.

The Kamov Ka-32A is a compact air transporter, capable of operating without ground support. It is designed for search and rescue missions as well as medical and emergency evacuation, loading and unloading ships at sea, and offshore operations.

The announcement comes a day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the newly imposed US sanctions on Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport would not stop Moscow from engaging in military cooperation with Tehran.

The US State Department announced on Thursday that it had taken punitive measures against Rosoboronexport for allegedly providing sensitive technology to Iran.

A Kamov official said earlier in October that the firm, established about 60 years ago for the development and production of helicopters, was set to sign a contract with Iran before the end of the year.

Sergei Mikheyev, the general designer at Kamov, said the contract might be similar to a Tupolev deal reached last August, in which Iran ordered more than 100 Tu-204 airliners on the condition that Iran eventually license-produces the aircraft.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Libya, Croatia and the S-300

From Middle East Newsline:
Libya was said to have transferred a long-range Russian-origin air defense system to Iran.

A Croatian magazine said the Libyan Navy transported several S-300 air defense batteries from the former Yugoslav republic to Iran. The magazine, Necenzurirano, said Libyan warships docked in the Croatian port city of Kraljevica to transfer the S-300 to Iran.

There was no confirmation of the report. Croatia and Iran were said to have close relations, particularly in the naval sector.

A Croatian website has reported that Zagreb recently sold S-300 missile systems to Iran. Croatia is known to have purchased the advanced anti aircraft defense systems following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The web magazine Necensurirano also reported that Libyan warships were docked at the Croatian port of Kraljevica where the missile systems were being loaded in preparation for transfer to Iran. Details of the Croatian deal were reported in The Jerusalem Post.

The report also noted that Ronen Bergman's The Secret War with Iran, published Tuesday in the US, repeats the claim made in the Hebrew version of the book, published last year, that the Iranians already have S-300s. Bergman writes ""Iran has purchased an enormous number of anti-aircraft missiles from Russia, some of which, according to Mossad sources, are S-300 missiles, considered among the most advanced in the world.

These missiles have been deployed around Bushehr and other strategic targets." Bergman writes. He claims that during the Second Lebanon War,Israeli satellite photographs detected changes at several locations in Iran.

Earlier this month media reports claimed Russia threatened to supply the sophisticated S-300 air defense system to Iran,if Washington pushes through Nato membership for Georgia and Ukraine. The advanced air defense system would enable Iran to lock in on 100 targets at once and fire on planes upto 120 kilometers away.

In August, Syrian President Bashar Assad visited Russia to discuss the purchasing of the S-300 missile system from Moscow as well as the Pantsyr-S1 Air Defense Missile system, the BUK-M1 surface-to-air medium-range missile system.

New Naval Base Part 2

From PressTV:
Iran's Navy Commander says the new naval base in the strategic port of Jask will be used to block the Strait of Hormuz in case of war.

In a Tuesday interview, Chief Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari said the presence of foreign forces near Iranian waters prompted the army to expand its strategic positions in the Sea of Oman.

"The newly-inaugurated naval base offers a new defensive front to the east of the Strait of Hormuz," said Rear Admiral Sayyari.

He stressed that the base would become an impenetrable barrier in the event of war, blocking the entry of enemy naval units into Persian Gulf waters.

Washington and Israel have threatened to strike the Islamic Republic, under the pretext of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

A US attack on the Syrian village of Sukkariyah on Monday, has raised speculation about the likelihood of a unilateral strike on the Islamic Republic.

Tehran has warned that in the event of war, it would not hesitate to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world's sea-transited crude oil passes.

In a Sep. 11 report, the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy says that in the two decades since the Iran-Iraq War, the Islamic Republic has excelled in naval capabilities and is able to wage unique asymmetric warfare against larger naval forces.

According to the report, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) has been transformed into a highly motivated, well-equipped, and well-financed force and is effectively in control of the world's oil lifeline, the Strait of Hormuz.

The study says that if Washington takes military action against the Islamic Republic, the scale of Iran's response would likely be proportional to the scale of the damage inflicted on Iranian assets.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Iran arming 'freedom armies'

From AFP:
Iran is arming "freedom armies" in the Middle East, according to a top commander of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards quoted Sunday by a military website.

"Today, not only our armed forces are self sufficient but the freedom armies of the region get part of their weaponary from us," said Hossein Hamedani, deputy commander of Iran's volunteer Basij militia.

His comments appeared on the public relations website of the Revolutionary Guards, of which the Basij militia forms a part.

Like those of the Revolutionary Guards, commanders of the militia are appointed by the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hamedani whose military rank was not provided, did not elaborate further on what he meant by "freedom armies."

But Iran has dubbed Palestinian groups such as the Islamist movement Hamas and the hardline Islamic Jihad as well as the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah as "freedom armies" since all have vowed to fight Tehran's regional arch-foe, Israel.
Tehran has always maintained that its support to these groups is merely "moral" and that it does not provide them with any military means, despite claims to the contrary by Washington.

After Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, Shiite majority Iran has been accused by the US of providing arms to Shiite insurgents in Iraq, an allegation that has been denied by Tehran.

New Naval Base

From PressTV:
Iran says the country's military is set to expand its defensive fronts in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

The announcement by Iran's Deputy Army Commander Brigadier General Abdolrahim Moussavi came after the country's Armed Forces inaugurated a new naval base in the strategic port of Jask on Monday.

Describing the port of Jask as the main entrance to Iranian waters, Brig. Gen. Moussavi said the new naval base would act as a protective barrier against enemy infiltration.

The Iranian commander added that the country's Armed Forces have set up an 'impenetrable naval barrier' in the eastern parts of the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.

Moussavi also stressed the need for the expansion of Iran's military bases, arguing that, "In the past, our military had to brace itself for countering regional enemies. This is while today we are faced with extra-regional threats."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The President's health

Recent rumors regarding Ahmadinejad’s health are reminiscent of similar rumors about Khamenei a couple years back. In the case of Khamenei, the rumors were not true, that he had cancer and was dying. (Some even said he had died.) Now the rumor mill swirls around President Ahmadinejad, that he is exhausted from a heavy schedule and may not run in the upcoming Presidential election. This rumor will turn out like the last.

Reading List- October 26, 2008

-Nukes: Too Deep to Hit
by Mark Hosenball

-Elusive consensus on Iran
by Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times Online

-Iran’s Presidential Election Takes Off
by Farideh Farhi
Informed Comment Global Affairs

Saturday, October 25, 2008

IRGC/AF Commander's Defiant Comments

From IRNA:
Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Airforce Brigadier General Hossein Salami said here (Rusdar, Gilan Prov.)Saturday that not an acre of Iran can be occupied.

"The arrogance knows pretty well that not an acre of our country can be occupied. Those taking lessons from Ashura will never yield to the enemy," said Salami in an address to a group of people in a ceremony held to commemorate a group of the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war martyrs.

He said Iran is invincible and highly powerful than ever. "Former Soviet, (former Iraqi ruler) Saddam Hussein and Taliban couldn't stand the US and were collapsed one after another but Islamic Iran has for 30 years been targeting the US policies on whole the universe." He added, "We are today highly powerful and can target enemy everywhere on earth. That does not represent all our power; Our power lies in our faith, our statesmen's will and in our cohesion and unity."

Interesting comment depicting Iran’s successful resistance, during which time the USSR, Hussein’s Iraq and the Taliban were knocked out one by one.

(Top photo from PBS)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Officer Graduation at Imam Ali University (video)

Video includes demonstration by Iranian commandos and a choreographed military parade.

US Military Publications on Iran

Two publications for the US Military:

-Cultural Intelligence for Military Operations – Iran
Marine Corps Intelligence Activity

-Iranian Strategy in Iraq: Politics and “other means”
Joseph Felter, Brian Fishman
CTC at West Point

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Belarusian jet forced to land in Iran

From Press TV:
Iranian warplanes have forced a Belarusian fighter [sic] jet to land for interrogations after the plane violated the country's airspace.

Iranian officials forced the Ilyushin Il-76 to land in the southern port city of Bushehr early Wednesday morning, Belarusian News Agency BelTA reported.

The plane was carrying a Belarusian military delegation to Doha in Qatar to attend the end of a military exercise dubbed Rapacious Falcon, Belarus' Foreign Ministry said according to BelTA.

Members of a military delegation aboard the plane were interrogated by Iranian officials before they were permitted to leave Iranian soil.

Belarus' Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to Belarus, Seyyed Abdollah Hosseini, who apologized and assured that Tehran would conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident, which he said occurred due to lack of coordination.

Yet another intercept/forced landing in Iran that has been reported in the Iranian press.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Revolutionary Guards Reportedly Captured in Iraq

The Long War Journal is reporting the detention of seven members of Iran’s IRGC, found inside Iraqi territory by Iraqi police and border guards.
Iraqi police captured three armed Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officers today in the city of Al Kut in Wasit province, a police official told Voices of Iraq. "Three Iraqi(sic) Revolutionary Guards along with their guide were detained on the border region between Iraq and Iran in eastern Wasit after entering Iraq illegally," said Police Major Aziz Latief al Imara. "The forces seized amounts of ammunitions found in their possession."

On Oct. 18, Iraqi border guards captured four more members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Mandali district in Diyala province. "A force from the 4th contingent of the Iraqi border brigade in Diyala province arrested last night four members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard inside the Iraqi territories," an anonymous official told Voices of Iraq. "The four were in military uniform with guns in their possession and were moving within the Iraqi territories."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

IRGC Navy in Action (video)

Clashes with Jundallah Militants

From PressTV:

Four Jundallah militants have been killed in clashes with Iranian forces in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sistan-Baluchestan police commander, Brigadier General Bahram Norouzi, said Saturday that one of the killed bandits was the right-hand man of Abdolmalek Rigi, the ringleader of the Jundallah (Soldiers of God) terrorist cell.

Sistan-Baluchestan, which lies in southeastern Iran, has witnessed a spate of attacks by the Jundallah militant group in recent years.

Rigi, who has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against high profile Iranian targets, told Al Arabiya news channel on Saturday that Jundallah 'favors a free, democratic government.'

The group had earlier claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of sixteen Iranian police officers on June 12. In late June, the terrorist cell announced it had killed two of the hostages.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

IRIAF Maneuvers (video)

'Iran, welcome to equip Lebanese army'

From PressTV:
A top Lebanese official says his country would welcome any Iranian effort to provide the Lebanese army with long-needed military equipment.

"The US has taken no serious action to provide the Lebanese army with its needed equipment; therefore, if Iranians want to do so, we welcome them," said Lebanese Minister of State Jean Oghassabian in an interview with the al-Jadid Arabic-language satellite channel, according to IRNA.

Lebanon's 70,000-strong army is under-armed and overstretched with army officials complaining over the lack of heavy armor, anti-aircraft missiles and the absence of a strong air force.

The United States and Lebanon have set up a joint commission in Beirut to establish military relations; there have been reports of the United States entering military contracts to equip Lebanese forces in line with a pledge to grant aid to the country.

Lebanese officials, however, have commented on the issue, saying that Washington-Beirut cooperation has not provided Lebanon with the military equipment it needs.

According to the officials, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman had communicated a request to the US administration for hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and military equipment, including helicopters, armored personnel carriers and communications systems, for Beirut to establish border and internal security.

Iran Considers a Military Budget Hike

From PressTV:
Iran's Parliament has been urged to offer an increase in military budget to help the Iranian Defense Ministry's aerial industry flourish.

After a Wednesday visit to the Defense Ministry's Aerial Industry Organization, Head of Iran's Aerospace Commission in the Parliament, Ahmad Mahdavi-Abtahi said the outstanding achievements of the organization calls for stronger Majlis support.

Mahdavi-Abtahi urged parliamentarians to approve an increase in military budget to support the Defense Ministry's military equipment production projects.

Friday, October 17, 2008

IRIAF Pilot Memories

Memories of Brigadier General Pilot Behrooz Soleiman

Reading List - October 17, 2008

This week’s selections include a new historical account of US relations with Iran before the revolution, a look at how the upcoming US and Iranian elections may be related and a book review by Kaveh L. Afrasiabi.

U.S. policies may have contributed to Iran revolution, study says
By Borzou Daragahi
LA Times

US blowback in Iran's elections
By Hossein Askari
Asia Times Online

Delinking Options on Iran
by Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times Online

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Upcoming Aerial Drill - Updated

From PressTV:
Iran's Air Force is set to test the country's state-of-the-art military equipment and flight tactics in a large-scale aerial maneuver.

Iran's show of armed muscle is aimed at demonstrating the country's military offensive capabilities in the wake of escalating war threats against the Islamic Republic.

The upcoming military exercise is scheduled to be launched in Iran's northwestern city of Tabriz on Thursday and will resume in different Iranian cities including Tehran, Isfahan, Hamedan, and Dezfoul.

The Iranian Armed Forces have been holding military exercises on a regular basis after Israel conducted an air maneuver over the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece in early June, which according to Pentagon officials, appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.


Earlier in September, scores of Iran's fighter jets, surveillance planes, interceptor aircraft and radar drones took part in a joint three-day military exercise.

The maneuvers also involved testing a surveillance network equipped with state-of-the-art systems for identifying enemy aircraft.

After the drill the IRGC Air Force Commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami warned that Iran's air space would be 'hazardous' and 'high-risk' for aggressor aircraft.

The forthcoming Iranian military drill, starting Thursday, will involve Iran's F-4 Phantoms, F-5 Freedom Fighter/Tigers, F-7 fighter jets, F-14 Tomcats, Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) fighter jets and Boeing KC-707 aerial refueling tanker aircraft, Fars News Agency reported.

In further preparation for a possible Israeli attack, Iran's Air Force chief, Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani, announced in mid-August that the country has revamped its fighter jet fleet to fly distances of 3,000 kilometers without refueling.

The upgrade would allow Iranian aircraft to fly to Israel and back without needing to refuel.

Update: From DEBKAfile:
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the drill beginning Thursday, Oct. 16 in northern Iran, is Tehran’s rejoinder to Israel’s big aerial maneuver last June.
Then, more than 100 Israeli fighter-bombers went through their paces over the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, roughly the same distance from Israel as Iran.
Tehran’s media claim the exercise will test its air force’s ability to fly to Israel and back without refueling.

The exercise will also test the US-made FBX-T band anti-missile radar system delivered in September and installed at the IAF Nevatim air base in the Negev. The Iranians say they will be practicing their “state-of-the-art military equipment and flight tactics,” meaning an attempt to jam US and Israeli electronics and radar.

According to Iranian media, the entire range of Iran's fighter fleet will take part, including US-made F-4, F-5, F-7 and F-14 fighters and domestic Saegheh fighters. Mid-air refueling will be provided by Boeing 707 aerial tankers.

In mid-August, Iran's Air Force chief, Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani, maintained that its antiquated fighter jet fleet had been overhauled and upgraded to fly distances of 3,000 kilometers without refueling. That would be more than double the distance between Iran and Israel.

That is why Tabriz, in Azerbaijan, at the northwestern corner of Iran, was picked as the starting point of the exercise. The official communiqué said the planes would be flying from air fields in Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz and Hamadan and Dezful.

Our military sources say that this means that the entire maneuver will take place over Iran and not venture out its air space. The planes will have to fly to Tabriz from bases in the south near the Pakistan border in order to replicate the more than 1,200 km distance between Iran and Israel.

The Iranian Air force also aims at deploying more than 100 warplanes for the exercise, matching the number Israel used in its maneuver four months ago.
Tehran has timed this large-scale drill for just three weeks before the US presidential election on Nov. 4, in response to speculation rife in the West that Israel may use the window between the US election and the swearing-in of the new president in January for an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

The Iranians aim to show they have a first and second strike capability - not just with ballistic missiles but also by aerial attack.

Update II: Iran’s latest saber rattling, with an aerial drill simulating an attack on Israel, has not produced a substantial rise in the price of crude oil. This is in stark contrast to last summer when military posturing and comments of war by high ranking leaders in Iran and Israel caused the price of oil to soar.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PressTV Special: Commemoration of Operation Kaman 99

Note material taken from movie on the subject, including a treetop level buzz by a IRIAF F-4 Phantom. (HT to maydayfire @ IMF.)

Iran Military Conscription Term Cuts

From Yahoo News:

Iran has shortened the length of its mandatory military service by up to two months, the Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.

"The military service has been cut by two months in normal cases and by one month in underprivileged areas," where the term was 18 months, Brigadier General Moussa Kamali was quoted as saying.

"In the areas that (military) operations are being carried out, the term was 17 months... and now it has been cut to 16 months," added Kamali, who is chief conscription officer of the armed forces.

Military service in the Islamic republic lasted 24 months by the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war but has since been gradually shortened to less than two years.

According to Jane's Military Balance, the number of active armed forces in Iran stood at 545,000 in 2007.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Somali Pirates Release the MV Iran Dianat- Updated

From PressTV:
Somali pirates have released an Iranian ship, Dianat, two months after being hijacked in the notorious Gulf of Aden, Iran's shipping company says.

On August 21, the pirates seized the Iranian bulk carrier, carrying 42,500 tons of minerals and industrial products.

"The ship Dianat was released on Friday morning after seven weeks of negotiations with Somali pirates and all 29 members of the crew are safe," Said public relations office of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL).

The ship is sailing towards international waters, IRISL added.

The release poses additional questions. Did the US ever get to board the vessel? Did the ransom(s) get paid? Were any of the rumors true? How did the Iranians manage to free the vessel- diplomatically?

Update: Iran reportedly paid the ransom for release of the ship. The pirates on Friday freed 29 seamen and their cargo ship, MV Iran Dianat.

Oil Down to $77 a Barrel

From Aljazeera:
Crude oil fell to its lowest price in a year, trading below $80 a barrel in London, as demand declines amid a worsening economic outlook caused by a global credit crisis.

The price dropped $5.61 to $77.05 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange on Friday.

While on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for November delivery fell as much as $3.08, or 3.6 per cent, to $83.51 a barrel, the lowest since October 2007.


The price of crude oil has now plunged by almost 50 per cent since striking record high levels above $147 per barrel on July 11.

Pasdaran Peppers Kurdish Fighters with Artillery Fire- Updated

From Bloomberg:
Iran's Revolutionary Guards bombarded Kurdish fighters in an area along the nation's border with Iraq, Hurriyet newspaper reported.

The shelling, which lasted about an hour, targeted camps of the Party of Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK, in the Kandil mountains, Hurriyet said citing unidentified local officials. PJAK has links with Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which also has bases there.

Iran and Turkey say they are cooperating against Kurdish militants who are seeking a homeland across a region that includes parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Update: From AP:
Four Kurdish rebels have been killed in clashes with members of the Islamist volunteer Basij militia in a village in Kordestan province in western Iran, the state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.

The clashes took place Tuesday evening between Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) rebels and Basij volunteers in Tijtij village near the town of Marivan, IRNA said.

Iranian forces have in recent years engaged in a series of deadly clashes with PJAK which operate from rear-bases in northeastern Iraq.

The rebel group has close links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984.

Iran has in recent years seen an upsurge in unrest in several regions with ethnic minority populations, including Baluchestan in the southeast, Arab-populated Khuzestan in the southwest, as well as Kurdish-inhabited areas.

Iranian officials have accused Britain and the United States of being behind the increase in violence.

Merchant Strike in Iran

According to AP:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered his government to suspend a controversial new sales tax Thursday, a day after a rare strike by merchants worried about how the new measure would affect their business.

The 3 percent value-added tax imposed in September sparked fears of price hikes and added to the list of unpopular economic steps like rationing of subsidized gasoline that Ahmadinejad has taken to shore up the government's budget.

The Iranian government relies on oil revenue for 80 percent of its budget. But crude prices have fallen about 40 percent since record highs in July. Taxes make up the remaining 20 percent of the budget.

"When oil revenue drops, the government applies more tax, and this causes discontent among businesses that are already suffering from recession," said Iranian political analyst Saeed Laylaz.

Scores of merchants across Iran shut their stores Wednesday to protest the new sales tax.

The strike was led by the country's goldsmiths, which are among the few retailers in Iran that issue sales receipts that would make it easy for the government to track whether they are charging the 3 percent tax.

Historically, a series of merchant strikes helped depose the Shah of Iran. That fact was not lost upon the current government, as it publicly backed down on the matter. Still, falling oil prices will continue to put a strain on Iran's economic situation, and taxation will probably be revisited.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Iran’s Gas Exports Look East

From Reuters India:
Most of Iran's future gas exports are likely to head to Asian buyers, skipping Europe due to tensions with the West, the managing director of Iranian petrochemical company Qeshm Energy said on Thursday.

Bijan Khajehpour said Iranian exporters would favour Asian buyers as they come with less political baggage and were already investing significantly in the Iranian oil and gas sector while Europeans were becoming increasingly wary.

"Within the foreseeable future, I don't see major Iranian gas exports to Europe," Khajehpour said at an industry conference in Amsterdam.

"If there is any gas left for export beyond our immediate neighbourhood then it will probably go east. Potential Asian buyers do not come with political strings, that is very important for a country like Iran."

European firms have become reluctant to invest in Iran due to heightened tension over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme. Iran sits on the world's second-largest gas reserves after Russia but sanctions have slowed sector development.

"The reality is that Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and generally Asian companies are the investors in the Iranian oil and gas sector right now," he said.

"There are other obstacles to exports to Europe: political tensions, the nuclear issue, Iran's domestic consumption patterns, and there are already existing LNG (liquefied natural gas) commitments to India and China."

Iran, which is also the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, has not yet exported any LNG but has previously said it will be able to produce 77 million tonnes a year by 2014. Construction of Iran's first LNG plant began over a year ago.
Cost issues and sanctions that limit access to technology have made it more beneficial for Iran to export gas via pipeline than by tanker after cooling it to liquid.

But analysts have said the only large-scale pipeline project, which would pump gas across Pakistan to India, is fraught with security concerns and pricing disputes.

Basij in Training

Moscow Says No S-300 SAMs to Iran

From Press TV:

Moscow rejects reports that it may arm Iran, saying it has no plan to equip Tehran with the S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system.

"We have declared more than once at the very highest political level that we do not intend to supply those types of armaments to countries located in regions that are, to put it mildly, unstable areas," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko on Thursday.

The Russian official added that the Kremlin makes decisions on selling such systems based on "both preserving the balance of power in the given region, and taking into account the need to provide stability and security in the region."

His remarks came after outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert lobbied Russia against equipping Iran with the powerful S-300 defense system in his recent two-day visit to Moscow.

Russia has delivered 29 Tor-M1 missile systems to Iran under a $700 million (£386 million) contract signed in 2005.

Reports, however, began to surface as early as 2005 on the possibility of a deal on the delivery to Iran of S-300 defense systems that can complicate any aerial strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

"If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran. That could be a catalyst for Israeli air attacks before it is operational," long-time Pentagon advisor Dan Goure said in late August.

"This is a system that scares every Western air force," he continued.


In late September, dozens of Iranian fighter jets, surveillance planes, interceptor aircraft and radar drones took to the skies in a joint three-day military exercise.

The maneuvers also involved testing a surveillance network equipped with state-of-the-art systems for identifying enemy aircraft.

In mid-August, Iran's Air Force chief, Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani, announced that the country had revamped its fighter jet fleet to fly distances of 3,000 kilometers without refueling.

The upgrade allows Iranian aircraft to fly to Israel and back without needing to refuel.

In further preparations, the IRGC has recently equipped its navy fleet with high-tech weapons systems capable of targeting any vessel within a range of 300 km (185 miles) from its shores.

Should the S-300 system become operational in Iran, it would effectively rule out Israeli air raids and seriously complicate any US aerial bombings, according to George Friedman - the director of leading US private intelligence agency Stratfor.
"Back Georgia and Ukraine for NATO membership and you'll see the S-300 to Iran. It is a very powerful bargaining chip and a major deterrent to US actions in the region. Moscow is playing very strategically on America's obsession with Iran," he said in late August.

The recent announcement by Moscow coincides with Russian efforts to restore its relations with the United States and its European allies.

"This is not in the interests of our country's policy or the interests of preserving stability in one region or another of the world," affirmed the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Charlie Rose - Manouchehr Mottaki

Manouchehr Mottaki, Foreign Minister of Iran, discusses Iran and US relations with Charlie Rose.

Iran-140 Gallery

Iran-140 in the News

From Iran Daily:
The Defense Ministry has manufactured five more small Iran-140 aircraft. According to Mehr News Agency, three of the planes have joined a local airline while two will be used by the police, Mehr news agency reported.

Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said during a ceremony in Tehran that Iran can produce 12 planes on a yearly basis.

The Iran-140 is a twin-propeller aircraft with Ukrainian technology. It can carry 52 passengers and crew. IRNA quoted Mohammad-Najjar as saying all parts of the plane were produced inside Iran. Since 2003 there have been three Iran-140s in operation. Authorities say a dozen more will be produced by 2010.

Iran’s aircraft industry has suffered from US sanctions imposed since the early 1980s. But the restrictions have prompted Iran to develop its own manufacturing capability in key areas and take the punitive sanctions as a ’blessing in disguise’.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Iranian Fighter Jets Force Foreign Jet to Land

From PressTV:
A top Iranian military official has denied reports that a US Falcon Jet violated Iran's airspace and was forced to land in the country.

An informed military source told Press TV that the Falcon which was forced to land in Iran last week did not belong to the US Air Force.

According to the official, the Jet intended to fly over the country on September 30 but was denied permission due to being a military aircraft.

The official added that a few hours later the Falcon changed course and attempted to enter Iran's airspace by announcing to be a civilian aircraft.

However, after realizing that the two planes were in fact the same, Iranian fighter jets forced the Falcon Jet to land.

The military official said that none of the passengers onboard the Falcon were American citizens and they were allowed to fly out of the country after Iranian authorities found them not to be harboring ill intentions.

Some news agencies earlier reported that a US Falcon Jet had been forced to land in Iran and that its passengers were senior US military officials.

Earlier, Fars New Agency had mistakenly reported that the Falcon was a US plane carrying high ranking US military officials. Judging from these reports as well as an earlier report of Iranian F-4s being scrambled for intercept, Iranian fighter jets appear to be in a high state of readiness. They appear to be aggressively defending Iranian airspace.

Update: From PressTV:
Hungary's Defense Ministry has said that an aircraft forced to land in Iran last week was carrying Hungarian military officials.

Some news agencies had earlier reported that the plane was a Falcon jet carrying senior US military officials.

On Tuesday, an informed military source in Iran told Press TV that it was not a US aircraft.

The Hungarian Defense Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the plane was carrying a four-member Hungarian military delegation en route to Afghanistan and had strayed into Iranian airspace on Sept. 30 due to an "administrative" error, AP reported.

The plane was allowed to continue to Afghanistan after it was determined that the violation of Iran's airspace was accidental, the statement added.

The Hungarian delegation was flying in a civilian Hawker 800 plane rented from the private Hungarian firm JAS Cargoways.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Persian Gulf Military Balance of Power

Click on graph for larger view.

Graphs depict the military balance of power in the Persian Gulf, in terms of military expenditure, manpower and armored fighting vehicles (AFVs). Source: Conventional Armed Forces in the Gulf, a CSIS report by Anothony Cordesman, dated June 23, 2008. (HT to Ayyash @ IDF.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

USS Ronald Reagan reportedly pulled from Persian Gulf

From PressTV:
The nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier has reportedly departed the Persian Gulf after experiencing a technical problem.

"The Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, which belongs to the US Navy, left the Persian Gulf on Saturday after its experienced problems in its water sweetening system," an Iranian military official told IRNA on condition of anonymity on Saturday.

The technical problem forced the aircraft carrier to dock at Jabal Ali port in the United Arab Emirates on October 1.

The official added that the municipality of Jabal Ali provided the ship with 100 sweet water tankers containing 7,000 liters each.

The USS Ronald Reagan is a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the service of the United States Navy; it can carry 90 fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters.

Interesting that Iran's media cites Iranian military sources in reporting this development. It's a deliberate indication of Iran's military intelligence capability.

Reading List - October 5, 2008

This week's reading list includes a short piece on Iran's Quds Force, an article on Israel's attempted march to war with Iran and a report claiming a S-300 SAM deal has yet to be reached between Russia and Iran.

-Iran’s elite and mysterious fighters
By Peter Spiegel and Borzou Daragahi
LA Times

-Israel laying its yellow brick road to Iran war
By Mohammad Davari and Dex A. Eastman

-Israelis see delay in Iran-Russia missile deal

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New Powers for General Safavi

General Safavi, the former head of the whole IRGC organization, is now the second most important military man in all Iran. His promotion by Supreme leader Khamanei now includes duties related to the direction and command of the joint chief of staff, military operations and the direction of Iran’s military doctrine.

Article (in Farsi) and additional pics at Fars News Agency.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Potential Russian Helicopter Deal for Iran

From Fars News:

Kamov, one of Russia's largest helicopter producers, is hoping to sign an agreement by the end of the year to export Ka-226T utility helicopters to Iran, the company's director said on Friday.

The agreement with Iran is expected to be signed by the end of this year, Roman Chernyshev, director of Kamov, said, adding that the agreement would be for "supplying civil rather than military helicopters".

Chernyshev also said that other Russian aircraft makers had already signed similar deals with Iran, in particular, for the delivery of more than 100 Tu-204 medium-haul passenger aircraft.

He said Kamov had received a 2.5-billion ruble ($100 million) loan from Vnesheconombank, or the Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs of Russia, to produce the Ka-226T utility helicopters.

The Ka-226T can carry either eight people or 1.5 tons of cargo and has a variety of modifications - passenger, freight, search and rescue, and patrol.

Vnesheconombank (Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs) was established by the Russian government last year as a national development vehicle to modernize and diversify the Russian economy and make it more competitive.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Iran, the Cradle of the Brave

This video appeared on Iranian television during the 2008 Sacred Defense Week. The video was produced by the IRIAF.

HT to tictac @ ACIG, and thanks to Iranian Ace @ IMF for the upload to youtube.

Iran's Military Minorities Pt. 2

Bactyaris and unidentified military minorities at the 2008 Sacred Defense parades.

In-Flight Refueling Pod

Attached display photo shows a F-4 Phantom with in-flight refueling pod attached to a F-14 Tomcat. It is assumed the pod is Iranian built. Photo taken during 2008 Sacred Defense Parade in Tehran.