Iran steps up defenses against foreign attacks, senior defense official says

Equipment to ‘identify and monitor threats’ deployed to 51 towns and cities; top commander denies Israeli jets penetrated Iranian airspace in recent months

File: This photo released October 12, 2021, by the Iranian Army, shows a missile being fired during a military drill in an undisclosed location in Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)
File: This photo released October 12, 2021, by the Iranian Army, shows a missile being fired during a military drill in an undisclosed location in Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)

Iran has deployed civil defense systems to dozens of cities and towns to foil a potential attack, a senior Iranian official said Saturday, amid rising tensions with Israel and the United States.

The defense equipment, in 51 locales, will enable Iran’s armed forces to “identify and monitor threats by using round-the-clock software according to the type of the threat and risk,” deputy defense minister Mehdi Farahi was quoted as saying by Iranian media, according to Reuters.

“These days, depending on the strength of countries, the form of battles has become more complicated,” Farahi said.

He added that hybrid forms of warfare  — including cyber, biological, and radioactive attacks — have replaced classical wars, but did not name the countries that could threaten Iran, Reuters reported.

Iran has accused Israel of sabotaging its nuclear program and killing a number of its nuclear scientists, as well as conducting cyber attacks, some with the US, against the country’s infrastructure and nuclear sites. It has also blamed Israel for assassinating several Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers in recent months.

Israel, meanwhile, has long pushed the US to prepare a military option against Iran, and US President Joe Biden said in July that he would be prepared to use force if necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran’s nuclear program is believed to be too advanced to be taken out with one strike and it is unclear the extent of damage a military attack would be able to incur.

File: Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

Iran on Saturday also denied a recent report that claimed Israeli F-35 stealth fighters penetrated Iranian airspace on multiple occasions in the last two months.

“This claim is also similar to their other claims. Such a thing has never happened as air defense’s smart network is conducting monitoring every second,” Iranian Army Air Defense Force commander Alireza Sabahifard was quoted as saying by state media.

He added that Iran’s radar systems were watching “thousands of kilometers” away, as well as the country’s skies and borders.

“Our enemies sometimes make some comments to see our reaction but we have demonstrated our reaction in the field and will God willing do so again,” Sabahifard added.

An F-35i ‘Adir’ during a pilots graduation ceremony, July 6, 2017. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

Tensions have remained high amid a back and forth between the US and Iran via mediators from the European Union, over a potential return to the 2015 nuclear accord.

Biden took office aiming to revive the deal, which was abandoned in 2018 by his predecessor Donald Trump, who unleashed a volley of fresh sanctions on the cleric-run state.

The European Union put forward on August 8 what it called a final text. Iran proposed changes to it — largely accepted by the Europeans — to which the United States issued a response through the mediators, saying it was “not constructive.”

In a separate incident, a pair of American naval drones were briefly seized Friday by Iranian forces in the Red Sea, and were returned with their cameras missing.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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