Iran Preps Major Military Maneuvers, continues War Games

The Jerusalem Post reports on Iran’s newly announced manuevers, which extend the current war-games to start in the Southeast, close to the Iraq and possibly Pakistani Border. The new maneuvers supposedly involve forces all across the nation, but the start near the southeast is interesting. Named “The Blow of Zolfaghar,” the exercise could be a referent to several things.

The first of course would be the first Iranian Imam, Zolfaghar, who carried a famous two-edged sword. This could reference a two front defense, or a two front offense. A two front defense makes sense because Iran has been doing a lot of saber-rattling while the highly efficient, veteran forces of the strongest military in the world are on two of their borders.

The other would be for the Iranian Main Battle Tank, the Zolfaghar, indicating an armored offense. The third, unlikely reference is to the Order of Zolfaghar, a military order under the Shah:

The origin of this order dates back to the Qajar era, when Nasser al-din Shah Qajar founded the insignia of “Temsal-e Amir almomenin” (Portrait of the commander of faithful)in 1856. By the reign of Shah Reza Pahlavi, the order was modified and renamed as Zolfaghar, the sword of Imam Ali in 1925. The order was awarded for gallantry and bravery.

Here’s the article from the Jerusalem Post:

Iran will launch a series of large-scale military maneuvers across the country and has not made plans for an end to the ongoing war games, the army said Thursday.

“The maneuvers are aimed at introducing Iran’s new defensive doctrine,” military spokesman Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani was quoted as saying by state-run television.

He said the exercises would begin on Saturday in the south east of the country. “It will continue in the whole of Iran, stage by stage for an unspecified period,” Ashtiani said.

The announcement came as Iran faces heightened international scrutiny because of its contentious nuclear program and for supporting the Lebanese Hizbullah guerrillas.

Iran denies Israeli accusations it is arming and training Hizbullah fighters.

Ashtiani praised Hizbullah for its month-long fight against Israel. “Human forces can decide fate of a war. We saw it in Lebanon,” the general said, echoing Hizbullah claims it won the war by resisting a massive bombing and ground offensive for more than a month before a UN-brokered cease-fire came into place earlier this week.

The military spokesman said Iran’s maneuvers reflected the current level of tension in the Middle East. “We have to be prepared against any threat and we should be a role model for other countries,” local newspapers quoted Gen. Ashtiani, as saying. “Our army is ready to defuse all plots against Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The military exercise, involving 12 infantry regiments, is called “The Blow of Zolfaghar,” in reference to a sword that belonged to Imam Ali, one of the most revered figures of Islam for Shi’ite Muslims. A majority of Iran’s 70 million people are Shi’ite.

On Wednesday, the Interior Ministry said that Iran also plans to boost security patrols on its borders.

Iran has routinely held war games over the past two decades to improve its combat readiness and test locally made equipment such as missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers. In April, Teheran launched its biggest military maneuvers so far, during which it said it tested several advanced weaponry including missiles.

Probably unrelated, but interesting nonetheless, someone edited Wikipedia in February and dropped this reference to Zolfaghar in the Iraq-Iran war:

January4th, 1981 ‎ Hajian passageway offensive operation

‎ To occupy the heights dominating the Kasegaran pass in Gilan gharb local area, Iraq ‎employed Khosravi-Ghasre shirin-Imam Hassan to Gilanegharb axis to accomplish its ‎operation. In plans for countering Iraq both before and after the Islamic revolution, three ‎decisive mountain passes namely, patagh, Sangan, and Kasegaran were the focus ‎of particular attention, and Iraq while knowing this vital fact, exerted its major ‎effort to capture Gilane gharb city; however, the initial resistance of the jealous and ‎brave tribesmen and local residents of Gilanegharb together with I.R of Iran’s army drove ‎back the Iraqi troops from Gilanegharb and they were deployed opposite Hajian ‎passageway, Goursefid village and Chaghalvand height. In keeping with the general ‎concept and objectives of the army, Hajian passageway operation was a limited ‎offensive operation in its own kind; however , from the military perspective, the ‎objectives were selected in such a way that in case of decisive victory and the complete ‎seizure of them, remarkable superiority would be achieved to facilitate offensive ‎operations and push back Iraqi troops.Being conducted by the army’s foremost ‎headquarter in the west region, this operation started on January 4th, 1981 and after 11 ‎days it came to an end on January 15th, 1981.‎ result:‎ ‎- Some part of Bar Aftab height, south of Hajian passageway, Aw Azin height, and the ‎heights next to Chaghalvand were seized by the friendly forces.‎ ‎- More than 600 Iraqi soldiers were killed or wounded and]] 53 others were captured.‎ ‎- 26 tanks, one bulldozer, 25 vehicles and 8 guns along with one helicopter were ‎destroyed.‎

January 9th, 1981‎ Kharazm (Zolfaghar Strike) offensive operation ‎

Meimak border height with its important geographical situation is located in the west of ‎Islamic Republic of Iran with a steep gradient towards north and mild gradient towards ‎west. Having a desirable observation capabilities and a good monitoring advantage over ‎surrounding areas, it is located in Illam province.‎ ‎ Two old border stations of Halaleh and Neykhazar at the west gradient extreme were ‎destroyed at the beginning of war. Meimak Height was a matter of dispute between Iran ‎and Iraq before the Islamic Revolution and some measures were taken to demarcate the ‎borderlines but no optimum result was obtained.‎ ‎ As it was mentioned in the defensive operations in the area before, the enemy captured ‎part of Maimak height after beginning of war and stabilized its positions there. ‎Kharazm operation was planned by Kermanshah 81st armor division of IRI army under ‎Amin Operational Plan. 1st brigade of this division prepared Kharazm 6 Operational Plan ‎on December 12th, 1980 and made necessary preparation for its conduction. ‎ Khazal tribesmen considers Meimak height and western outskirts as their ancestral ‎territory and have great faith and affection for the area. Commander of operation ‎respected such faith and affection that was an important factor which played a key role ‎done by the people for reconnaissance measures and conduction of the operation. ‎ Kharazm Operation (Zolfaghar Strike) was carried out in general area of Meimak and ‎Konjancham. With unique bravery of Iranian combatants, army Aviation in particular and ‎fearless martyrs like Ahmad Keshvary important parts of Meimak height were captured ‎and major portion of borderlines was secured. In this regard, the key role of army ‎Aviation and Air force in supporting the operation was undisputed.Over a month ‎by launching heavy counter attacks, Iraq tried to retaliate against its big defeat. But ‎bravery and sacrifice of Islamic forces didn’t allow this happen and ultimutely our ‎forces were able to stabilize the occupied areas.‎ Surprise principle was responsible for this victory in such a way that even a week before ‎prior to the operation Iraqis didn’t know about the operation and had announced the ‎situation as normal for their units. ‎

Result:‎ ‎-Occupying Kalehghandi, 620, 625 and 540 heights in north and south of operational ‎areas. ‎ ‎-2,000 Iraqis were either killed or injured and 164 captured. ‎ ‎-60 tanks, personnel carriers and vehicles were destroyed. 2 airplanes and 3 helicopters ‎were shot down. 2 mountainous infantry brigades and 7th tank battalion were ‎destroyed up to 70 percent. 13 tanks, 2 personnel carriers, some Maliootka rocket ‎launchers and signal and miscellaneous equipment were seized by brave army ‎combatants