Iran strengthens its civil defense and anti-aircraft readiness

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DUBAI, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Iran has equipped 51 of its cities with civil defense systems and boosted air defense preparedness to thwart any possible foreign attack, military officials said on Saturday, amid escalating tensions with Israel and the United States.

The civil defense equipment will allow Iran “to identify and monitor threats using software around the clock depending on the type of threat and risk”, said Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Mehdi Farahi, quoted by Iranian media.

“Nowadays, depending on the strength of countries, the shape of battles has become more complicated,” Farahi said, adding that hybrid forms of warfare, including cyber, biological and radioactive attacks, have replaced conventional wars. He did not name countries that could threaten Iran.

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Meanwhile, Brigadier General Qader Rahimzadeh, commander of Iran’s Air Defense Headquarters, said readiness was at an all-time high among his forces.

“The country’s airspace today is the most secure for authorized flights and the least secure for potential attackers,” Rahimzadeh was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Iran has accused Israel and the United States of cyberattacks in recent years that have damaged the country’s infrastructure. Iran has also accused Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility, of sabotaging its nuclear facilities.

US-Iranian military tensions have also long dogged the region. In the latest incident, Iran seized US military sailing drones in the Red Sea earlier this week – even as the two countries continue nuclear talks. Read more

On Tuesday, the US Navy said it foiled an attempt by Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval forces to capture an unmanned surface vessel operated by the US 5th Fleet in the Gulf. Iran said the drone posed a danger to maritime traffic.

Separately, state media said security forces in northern Iran had arrested 12 followers of the banned Baha’i religion.

The Islamic Republic views the Baha’i faith as a heretical offshoot of Islam and accuses its followers of ties to Israel because a main Baha’i shrine, built more than a century ago, is located in Israel.

Rights groups including Amnesty International have denounced an increased attack on the religious minority in recent months, with dozens of arrests and the destruction of homes.

Baha’is say hundreds of members of their faith have been imprisoned and executed since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. The government denies detaining or executing people because of their faith.

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Reporting from Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Frances Kerry and Louise Heavens

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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