Iran has said that explosions above the Bushehr nuclear power plant in the early hours of Monday morning were related to an air defense drill, as the military launches war games across the country.
“This air defense exercise took place at 5am local time, with full preparation and coordination with the armed forces,” Irani stated.
Prior to Irani’s statement, there had been reports of anti-aircraft fire in the area around the power station. A video circulating online appears to show air defense drills in progress.
State media outlets reported that Iran had launched the 17th iteration of its annual five-day war games, Payambar-e Azam [The Great Prophet].
The joint drills are taking place along the shores of the Persian Gulf, in the Strait of Hormuz, and in the provinces of Hormozgan, Bushehr, and Khuzestan, and involve the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ ground, naval, and air force units.
To mark the start of the exercises, a senior Iranian military commander issued a menacing message directed at Israel. “If Israel carries out attacks against Iran, our armed forces will immediately attack all centers, bases, routes, and spaces used to carry out the aggression,” Major General Gholamali Rashid said, vowing a “crushing” response, according to Nournews.
Iran’s nuclear sites have long been the source of international attention. For the past year, parties have sporadically met in Vienna with the aim of bringing Iran and the US back in line with the terms of an Obama-era atomic deal, which put constraints on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Then-President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled America out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018, re-imposing harsh economic sanctions on Iran as part of a maximum pressure campaign. Iran responded by reneging on a series of commitments it had previously agreed to under the terms of the deal.
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