Iran says it is producing nuclear defense equipment - EXCERPT
Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said U.S. sanctions had forced Iran to seek self-sufficiency to meet all its defense requirements, the government-owned Persian daily Iran reported.
"Iran has produced nuclear defense equipment," Iran quoted Shamkhani as saying.
"If our nuclear power plants are targeted, there will be radioactive releases. You need special equipment to control it. Also, some countries in our neighborhood have achieved nuclear technology. We have to be prepared if there is an accident there," Shamkhani was quoted as saying.
The minister did not elaborate on the type of equipment Iran was producing.
Defense Ministry officials, contacted by The Associated Press Tuesday, refused comment.
India and Iran's western neighbor, Pakistan, have nuclear weapons. Israel is also believed to possess hundreds of nuclear warheads.
Shamkhani said U.S. sanctions have benefited Iran, rather than harming it.
"One of the reasons for our success is various sanctions imposed on us. When we felt all technological doors are closed to us, we had no option but to seek self-sufficiency and produce our needs ourselves," he said.
Iran threatened last week to destroy Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor should the Jewish state attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
In late July Israeli military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon issued a tacit warning about Iran's nuclear weapons program.
"In the past few days, the past two weeks, Iran in essence broke the rules of the game of the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspections and started operating this project again," he said in an interview with Israeli state-run television.
"We have to pay serious attention to Iran's intention to arm itself with nuclear capabilities. This should not only concern Israel, but all the countries of the free world," Yaalon added.
US warplanes violate Iran's air space
Aug 24, 2004, 19:11
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Five US warplanes entered Iran's air space last Thursday night from the southwestern Shalamcheh border and flew over the city of Khorramshahr for a while, press reports said Tuesday.
According the Persian daily Seday-e Edalat, 'the jet fighters which flew at high speed and altitude, then headed to the Arvand River'.
"They flew at a height of 10 kilometers and maneuvered over Khorramshahr for a while," the paper said.
"While the objective behind the fighters' violation of the Iranian air space is not known yet, some military specialists believe such moves are aimed at assessing the sensitivity of the Islamic Republic's anti-aircraft defense system," it added.
It said military and air force officials had refrained from commenting on the incident when contacted.
Iran has been wary of the occupation forces' presence on its doorsteps in Iraq and carefully watched their movements.
Tehran, while opposing Iraq's invasion, took a position of `active neutrality' at the time of the attack.
In June, Iranian naval guards seized three British boats with eight crew in the country's territorial waters in Arvand river, which borders Iraq.
The servicemen, two Royal Navy sailors and six Royal Marine commandos, were later released.
Their equipment reportedly consisted of personal weapons, radios and navigation equipment, including echo sounders to measure the depth of the water, global positioning systems to identify the exact position and up-to-date maritime charts.