by: Ilse Posselt
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 | Yesterday the Islamic Republic of Iran celebrated its annual National Army Day. To mark the occasion, Iran chose to flaunt its military might by showcasing its newly acquired S-300 air defense missile system and a number of other state-of-the-art weapons in a series of parades through the streets of Tehran.
Yet the public display was not only for the benefit of the Iranians lining the streets of their capital. There was also a message for the Jewish state. Banners affixed to the trucks carrying the variety of weapons vowed “Death to Israel” in bright red Persian script.
According to The Times of Israel, the banners with the slogan calling for Israel’s demise also showed a picture of a fist punching through a blue Star of David.
The parade through Tehran featured missiles, tanks, armored vehicles, rifles, fighter jets, radar systems and the latest in camouflage gear, with troops from all units in the military proudly showing off their weapons.
In the midst of the display of military pomp, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a crowd of high-ranking officials, commanders and ordinary Iranians that although the army’s purpose was to “avoid tensions and encounters,” it “remain[ed] vigilant in the face of plots hatched by the others and [sic] increase deterrent power.”
Yet despite Rouhani’s insistence that the Iranian war machine posed no threat to neighboring countries, the banners calling for the destruction of the Jewish state told a different story.
Held once per year, Tehran hosts National Army Day to celebrate the country’s latest military achievements. The Iranian powers-that-be also chose this year’s parade to showcase the highly advanced Russian-made S-300 air defense missile as well as the locally manufactured Sayyad-3 high-altitude long-range anti-aircraft missile.
Russia supplied the Islamic Republic with the S-300 system in a highly controversial arms deal. Iran had been interested in the system for years to ensure the safety of its nuclear facilities against the possibility of a pre-emptive Israeli strike. The arms system is widely considered one of the most advanced medium-range weapons in the world. In line with international sanctions imposed by the United Nations, Russia refused to supply Tehran with the system.
The playing field changed in January 2016, with the implementation of a controversial nuclear deal between Iran and the heads of the P5+1 (US, China, France, UK, Russia and Germany). The Islamic Republic’s once illegal nuclear plan became legal and Tehran and Moscow clinched an accord regarding the S-300. In April 2016, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, announced that Russia had delivered the first of its advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Iran.
At the time, Israel expressed its concern over the sale. Moreover, according to The Times of Israel the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has in the past trained for the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on facilities equipped with the S-300 system. IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said in a 2015 interview that the Russian system was a “significant but not insurmountable challenge.”
Posted on April 19, 2017
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 19 April 2017)
Photo Credit: Meghdad Madadi/ Wikimedia
Photo License: Wikimedia
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