Monday, August 31, 2015

NEZAJA 35th Commando Brigade, border protection duty

Iranian media depiction of NEZAJA 35th Commando Brigade members engaged in border protection duties at a forward position in Kermanshah Province:

Assembled platoon of NEZAJA 35th Commando Brigade members, night duty. Border protection duty for this elite unit now considered requisite by the threat of ISIL to the west in neighboring Iraq.

Night transfer of PKM type general purpose machine between NEZAJA 35th Commando Brigade members

Strongpoint manned by members of NEZAJA 35th Commando Brigade equipped with AKM type assault rifles

NEZAJA 35th Commando Brigade members aboard Toyota Hilux pickup truck equipped with PKM type general purpose machine gun.

Unpaved road towards high ground prepared position. Note barren topography.

Rudimentary accommodations for this forward high ground position

NEZAJA first and second sergeants attending posed lieutenant at infantry mortar position

Posed demonstration of SPG-9 Kopye (“Spear”) tripod-mounted man-portable, 73 mm recoilless gun

Infantry mortar position. Note differences in uniform, some wearing the older "duck hunter" pattern while others wearing the newer NEZAJA type. All wear the characteristic tan beret issued to members of 35th Commando Brigade.

DShKM type heavy machine gun position. Note high power binoculars of observer in background.

PKM type machine gunner of NEZAJA 35th Commando Brigade

Improvised brick and mortar constructed pillbox

Steps improvised from set cinder blocks

Exterior view of lodging for the platoon captain, cut from the mountain side 

Interior detail of private lodging for the platoon captain. Sidings appear to be rendered in stucco.

Photos: Islamic Republic News Agency

Sunday, August 30, 2015

IRIADF exhibits developments in air defense technology

Above: IRIADF Brig. Gen. Esmaeli before Sayyad-2 (“Hunter-2”) surface-to-air missile (SAM) launcher of Talash ("Endeavor") air defense system.

A number of Iran’s manufactured air defense systems, including upgraded radars and electronic warfare equipment, were exhibited on 29AUG15 in Tehran.

According to
One of the uAlalalmnveiled products was the upgraded model of the Keyhan (Cosmos) radar. According to the commander, this new version is a fully mobile radar system with high resolution.
Keyhan is a long-range radar that uses mixed frequencies to identify small flying objects, and is suitable for detecting large number of aerial targets in the electronic warfare. Elsewhere in the exhibition, a variety of ground-based radar jamming systems were unveiled.
The jamming systems, which have been connected to the country’s integrated air defense network, are employed for electronic countermeasures in the fight against aerial threats.
A number of other Iranian radars, including Bina, Nazir and Talash were also put on display in the exhibition.
COMMENTARY: Radars Bina, Nazir and Talash are apparently going to be formally unveiled early in the coming week. This is what was disclosed by Mehr News Agency:
Speaking at a press conference Saturday morning at Khatam ol-Anbiya Air Defense Base, the base’s commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili pointed to the recent air defense domestically-manufactured systems including Fath 14 (Conquer) radar system, Talash (Endeavor) missile defense system, Hamyar (Assistant) inceptor system, SRR and IFF systems, Keyhan optimized system as well as a number of electronic warfare systems.
“Fath 14 is a state-of-the-art long-range radar system domestically produced to be attached to missile systems and is capable of discovering hostile aircraft or drones,” said Brig. Gen. Esmaeili.
He said Talash missile defense system is a long- and medium-range system with a domestic missile capability designed and manufactured by the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).
“Bidar is a surveillance and intelligence analyst system and its main characteristic is that it is untraceable and completely home-made,” he said.
Esmaeili also maintained that two other strategic, domestic radar systems dubbed “Dina” and “Nazir” are expected to be unveiled on Tuesday. According to him, these two radar systems have complex technological capabilities that make them quite unique in the region.
Hafez ("Retentive") 3D active electronically scanned array (AESA) type mobile radar

Another view of Hafez ("Retentive") 3D AESA type mobile radar

Moragheb (“Watchful”) 3D surveillance radar, apparently partially assembled

Reverse view of Moragheb (“Watchful”) 3D surveillance radar, partially assembled

What appears to be folded Kasta type radar fixed to transporter, marked Jabbar 21 ("Taskmaster 21")

Deployed aerial, IRIADF Keyhan (“Cosmos”) two-dimensional radar system

Keyhan-related radar receiver vehicle, equipped with receiver equipment, RF receiver, processing and control CPU

Modified AN/MPQ-46 High Power Illuminator (HPIR) radar for modified MIM-23 I-HAWK type medium-range surface-to-air missile.


Photos: Roohollah Vahdati at Iranian Students' News Agency, Mahmood Hosseini at Tasnim News Agency and Hossein Razaqnejad at Mehr News Agency

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Rouhani Opposes Majlis Vote on Nuclear Deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has opposed a parliamentary vote on the nuclear deal, the JCPOA, saying terms of the agreement will turn into legal obligation if it is passed by Majlis.

Rouhani made the comments at a news conference today. He said the JCPOA was a “political understanding” reached with world powers, not a “pact” that requires parliamentary approval. (AP, 29 August)

Rouhani has referred the JCPOA to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), the country’s highest national security body. As president, Rouhani chairs the SNSC and is believed to have enough votes in the body for the approval of JCPOA.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Oil at $50

Brent crude oil at ICE Futures Exchange in London hit $50.05 a barrel on Friday afternoon. On Monday, Brent had closed at $42.62 on concerns over Asian markets, but by today it gained back 17% to close over the $50 mark. This is a welcome news for all petrostates, including Iran, which have accounted for higher oil prices in their annual budgets.

Indian Navy guided missile frigates dock at Bandar Abbas

Indian Navy frigates INS Betwa (F39) and INS Beas (F37) have arrived and docked at Bandar Abbas, Iran, headquarters for Iran Navy 1st Naval Region. During the four-day visit,  Indian naval personnel "are scheduled to hold joint exercises with Iran’s Navy, hold talks with Iranian Navy commanders and local officials and visit historical and cultural sites of Hormozgan." [source: Iran Daily]

INS Beas (F37) Brahmaputra class guided missile frigate, built at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkatta.

During May–July 2009, INS Beas was a part of the Indian Navy task force on deployment to Europe. During this deployment, the task force participated in joint-exercises with the Royal Navy and the French Navy. Exercise Konkan-09 with the Royal Navy, was conducted off the coast of the United Kingdom. Exercise Varuna 2009 with the French Navy was off the coast of France. [source: Wikipedia]

INS Beas (F37) guided missile frigate assisted by Sohrab tug [IMO: 9413391] at Bandar Abbas

Starboard side of INS Beas (F37) guided missile frigate named for the River Beas

INS Betwa (F39) Brahmaputra class guided missile frigate, also built at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkatta. Note namesake for this ship: "the tenacious torrent", named after the River Betwa.

INS Betwa notable actions include Operation Cactus, where the Indian Navy was called in to rescue the Maldivian hostages taken by Sri Lankan mercenaries off the coast of Sri Lanka. INS Godavari (F20) and INS Betwa captured the freighter, rescued the hostages and arrested the mercenaries near the Sri Lankan coast.

INS Betwa was also part of Task Force 54, returning from the Mediterranean during which time the 2006 Lebanon War broke out. As a part of Operation Sukoon, INS Betwa participated in the evacuation of Indian citizens from Lebanon to Cyprus.

Armament detail of INS Betwa: Quadruple KT-184 launchers provided for the firing of Kh-35 (NATO: SS-N-25 Switchblade) AShMs.

Indian Navy Captain KM Ramakrishnan, commanding officer of INS Betwa

Captain KM Ramakrishnan received by officers of Iran Navy 1st Naval Region at Bandar Abbas

Crossed flags of the Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Iran, and behind them Naval Ensign of the Indian Navy, seen at the stern of INS Betwa.

Photos: Islamic Republic News Agency

Mastermind Of Khobar Towers Bombing Reportedly Arrested

19 U.S. Servicemen Lost Their Lives in 1996 Attack
The Christian Science Monitor says Ahmad Mughassil, the mastermind of the 1996 Khobar Towers attacks, was reportedly detained in Beirut and handed over to authorities in Saudi Arabia. (Christian Science Monitor, 27 August)

Mughassil has been indicted by a U.S. court as being the architect of the truck bomb attack that devastated the towers at a U.S. military base in Dhahran, killing 19 U.S. servicemen and injuring 372 people in June 1996. It was the deadliest blast against U.S. troops since the 1983 U.S. Marine barracks bombing in Beirut.

Mughassil was the military commander of Saudi Hezbollah, an Iranian Quds Force-backed extremist organization believed to be behind the attack. If confirmed, his arrest and extradition to Saudi Arabia would be a coup for the Saudi government and could be a disaster for Iran and the Quds Force if Mughassil cooperates with the authorities. The FBI had offered $5 million for his capture. Ash Sahrq al-Awsat said Mughassil has been sent to a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia.

The Associated Press quoted an unidentified Saudi official as saying Mughassil, a Shia from Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, was arrested two weeks ago in Beirut after having arrived from Iran. He was attempting to reach the Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs of Beirut when he was detained, the official told AP.

Matt Levitt, a counter-terrorism and intelligence expert at the Washington Institute, told CSM that Mughassil was living in Beirut prior to the 1996 attack and ran the Khobar operation from there. (Christian Science Monitor, 27 August)

Iran is reportedly the principal backer of Saudi Hezbollah, also known as Hezbollah al-Hijaz, as well as its powerful Lebanese counterpart. A 2001 federal indictment accused Mughassil and 12 other Saudi Hezbollah members of carring out the Khobar bombing. The indictment also provided details of the alleged links between Iran and the Saudi and Lebanese Hezbollah.

Iran has always denied any involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing.

File photo: A Saudi and a U.S. serviceman (r.) walk through the rubble in front of the Khobar Towers housing complex at a U.S. military base in Dhahran. 19 U.S. servicemen were killed when a truck bomb devastated the towers in June 1996. (Greg Marinovich/AP)

Indian military delegation at Iran Navy HQ in Bandar Abbas

Iran Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari shakes hands with members of military delegation from India’s University of Strategic Sciences, on AUG26 at the Iran Navy headquarters in Bandar Abbas.

According to Tasnim News Agency:
Sayyari expressed the hope that Iran and India would promote their relations in a way to end trans-regional countries’ presence for safeguarding security in the northern part of Indian Ocean.He then said northern part of Indian Ocean is one of the strategic trade areas of the world due to the existence of energy routes.
Elsewhere, Sayyari announced that the country will host navies from 45 world countries since it has received the official membership of a conference of navy commanders of Indian Ocean littoral countries in 2018, IRNA reported.
It is being reported on 28AUG15 that Indian Navy ships INS Betwa (F39) and INS Beas (F37) have docked at Bandar Abbas on a scheduled exchange visit to IRIN 1st Naval Region Headquarters. UOI will post photos with captions as they are made available.

Group photo of members of military delegation from India’s University of Strategic Sciences and Iranian military hosts at Iran Navy HQ in Bandar Abbas.

Ranking officer of the Indian military 16-member delegation, Indian Army Lt. Gen. Navkaran Singh accepting gift from Iran Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.

Commodore of the Indian Navy; behind him a captain of the Iranian Navy

Hall at the Iran Navy Headquarters in Bandar Abbas

Detail of Iran Navy themed woodcarving behind IRIN Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Commander of Islamic Republic of Iran Navy.

Photos: Seyed Majid Tavakoli at Fars News Agency

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Russia, Iran Sign MoU on S-300

Russia and Iran have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on delivery of Russian-made S-300 missile defense systems to Iran without specifying a timeframe, the Iranian state-run Press TV, quoting RIA Novosti, reported today.

“This week a memorandum on the implementation to supply Russian S-300 missile defense systems to Iran has been signed. It is a kind of a ‘roadmap,’” an unidentified official of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation was quoted as saying on Thursday. The report also said that no “timeframe” is specified in the MoU. (Press TV, 27 August) 

Without specifying a timeframe, it was not clear how useful the roadmap on the delivery of S-300 systems would be, and what purpose the MoU would serve. 

File photo: S-300 missile defense systems on parade at Moscow’s Red Square; May 2008 (CTV News