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Iranian leader orders development of modern weaponry amid heightened tensions

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Meng Tao/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)
October 18, 2019

Iranian supreme leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech on Sunday the nation needs to prepare to fight its enemies.

Khamenei ordered the construction of state-of-the-art weaponry for the country’s paramilitary fighting force, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), according to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

“Today, the IRGC is dignified both inside and outside the country, thanks be to god. The enemies have contributed to creating this dignity,” Khamenei said. “With violent, aggressive, and hostile behavior, the Americans increased the dignity of the IRGC. The enemies of god show hostility to God’s servants, and this hostility makes God’s servants more reputable and estimable.”

“You must have all necessary defense, operational and intelligence equipment. However, these instruments must be manufactured and developed at home and meet all the needs of the country on the ground, in the sky and space as well as at sea and borders. Even the cyberspace is among the necessary instruments,” he also said.

Khamenei cited the Quran in making his decision.

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“A permanent lesson before the eyes of the IRGC is the Quranic verse: Mobilize your [defensive] force as much as you can to frighten the enemies of God and your own enemies [the Quran; 8:60]. Investigate to find out what you need in all military and intelligence arenas. During the tyrannical Pahlavi regime, we were dependent, backward and unknowledgeable in terms of military equipment,” he added.

This latest development comes at a time when Iran has begun to beef-up its military, raising already-high tensions in the Middle East.

Iran’s army recently conducted unannounced military drills in the northwest of the country bordering Turkey which the United States announced is pulling its troops from, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Additionally, Israeli leaders claimed on Sept. 9 that they found a secret Iranian nuclear weapons site, coupling that claim with photographic evidence.

“Israel has exposed another Iranian violation of their international commitments: the Abadeh Nuclear Weapons Development Site,” Elad Strohmayer, an Israeli embassy spokesman, wrote on Twitter. “We have proof that  conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons there, and that they destroyed the site when they realized we discovered it.”

The acting head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the chief of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, Cornel Feruta, recently met with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

The meeting was to emphasize the need for Iran’s “full and timely cooperation” with UN nuclear agreements. The UN nuclear agency said its inspectors were ready to verify Iran’s compliance.

“Agency inspectors are on the ground in Iran and they will report any relevant activities to IAEA headquarters in Vienna,” said spokesman Fredrik Dahl.