Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Saturday, September 5, 1998 Published at 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK


World: Middle East

Iran begins military show of strength

Major-General Safavi: Troops will simulate attacks in enemy territory


Middle East Correspondent, James Muir: "These exercises will aggravate growing tension between the countries"
Iran has begun major military exercises near its border with Afghanistan.

More than 70,000 soldiers from the elite Revolutionary Guards have been testing their latest weapons and equipment.

Reports say tanks and aircraft are also taking part in the manoeuvres in an area 50km from the Afghan border.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman told the BBC the exercises were linked to the disappearance of 11 diplomats in northern Afghanistan, who Iran says were captured by the Taleban.

Diplomats 'may be dead'

The Taleban leader, Mullah Mohaamad Omar, said on Monday the Iranians may have been killed by Taleban soldiers acting without their leadership's knowledge.


Iranian affairs reporter, Sadeq Saba, reports
The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman dismissed the statement and emphasised that Iran held the Taleban responsible for their safety.

He said it was Iran's right to rescue the diplomats if the Taleban did not release them immediately.

The aim of the military exercises, he said, was to make preparations in case there was a need for military options.

Tension escalates

The commander of the Guards, Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi, told Tehran radio that Iran would not tolerate any insecurity in its borders with Afghanistan.

He said his troops would simulate attacks deep into enemy territory, but denied that Iran was seeking confrontation.

Our correspondent says that if the tension escalates between Iran and the Taleban, the possibility of the Iranians carrying out military retaliation similar to that launched recently by the US on Afghanistan could not be ruled out.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia


Relevant Stories

14 Aug 98 | South Asia
Afghanistan and its neighbours

09 Aug 98 | South Asia
Shockwaves from Moscow to Tehran

06 Sep 98 | South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?





Internet Links

Taleban Islamic Movement of Afghanistan

Afghanistan Government

Net Iran


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

Iraq oil-for-food aid extended

Israel demands soccer sex scandal inquiry

Israeli PM's plane in accident

Jordan police stop trades unionists prayers

New Israeli raid in southern Lebanon

New demand over PLO terror list

Earthquake hits Iran

New UN decision on Iraq approved

Algerian president pledges reform