August 1939 Alert from AP, with thanks to Herb:
Iran will launch a series of large-scale military maneuvers across the country and has not made plans for an end to the ongoing war games, the army said Thursday.
“The maneuvers are aimed at introducing Iran’s new defensive doctrine,” military spokesman Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani was quoted as saying by state-run television.
He said the exercises would begin on Saturday in the south east of the country. “It will continue in the whole of Iran, stage by stage for an unspecified period,” Ashtiani said.
The announcement came as Iran faces heightened international scrutiny because of its contentious nuclear program and for supporting the Lebanese Hizbullah guerrillas.
Iran denies Israeli accusations it is arming and training Hizbullah fighters.
Ashtiani praised Hizbullah for its month-long fight against Israel. “Human forces can decide fate of a war. We saw it in Lebanon,” the general said, echoing Hizbullah claims it won the war by resisting a massive bombing and ground offensive for more than a month before a UN-brokered cease-fire came into place earlier this week.
The military spokesman said Iran’s maneuvers reflected the current level of tension in the Middle East. “We have to be prepared against any threat and we should be a role model for other countries,” local newspapers quoted Gen. Ashtiani, as saying. “Our army is ready to defuse all plots against Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The military exercise, involving 12 infantry regiments, is called “The Blow of Zolfaghar,” in reference to a sword that belonged to Imam Ali, one of the most revered figures of Islam for Shi’ite Muslims. A majority of Iran’s 70 million people are Shi’ite.