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Iran Plans Military Air Exercises

Source: VOA News

Iranian officials say defense forces will practice aerial defense maneuvers against a simulated enemy next week to prepare for any attack against the country's nuclear facilities.

In an interview published in Iran's semi-official Fars news agency, Brigadier General Ahmad Mighani said the large-scale drills will begin Sunday.

Iran often holds defensive drills and announces military advances to show its readiness to fight any threat to its disputed nuclear program.

Friday, officials from six world powers, including the Unites States, expressed disappointment at Iran's refusal to accept a U.N.-brokered plan aimed at alleviating international concerns that Iran is developing atomic weapons.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said his country will not process its enriched uranium abroad as proposed in the plan and will consider only a uranium-for-fuel swap inside Iran.

The head of the U.N. nuclear agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, urged Iran to accept the offer.  He said Friday that he hopes Iran will not miss what he called a "unique but fleeting opportunity."

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the United States continues to hope that Iran will react positively to the uranium enrichment deal.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expressed his country's willingness to help solve the Iranian nuclear controversy through diplomacy.  Turkey's Anatolia news agency says Davutoglu made the comments after talks Friday with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Iranian city of Tabriz. 

Iran has not suspended its uranium enrichment activities, despite three rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions.  Officials at the Brussels meeting say there was no talk of imposing additional sanctions on Iran.

Diplomats are expected to meet again late next month.

Enriched uranium produces fuel that can be used for civilian purposes or, in highly enriched form, for nuclear weapons.  Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

... Payvand News - 11/21/09 ... --

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