The spin from IRIB, Iranian Republic Radio:
I.R. of Iran’s Army launched massive wargames Saturday over a large swathe of the country. Code-named Zarbat Zolfeqar (Stroke of Zolfeqar, the name of Imam Ali’s sword), the wargames began with fighter planes carrying out air sweep operation with troops commissioned to disrupt the movement of the hypotheical enemy.
Also the Airforce delivered heliborne operations to parachutists of the Army’s ground force by Chinook and 214 choppers and quick reaction units and elite forces simulated modern battle conditions.
In reality the Iranian “war-games” appear to be a crackdown on ethnic Kurds disguised as a military excercise — see this:
NCRI â€“ Following several days of shelling Kurdish regions on Iran-Iraq border, local residents were forced to leave the area to seek refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan region of Sidkan. According to Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party television reporting from the scene on August 17, shelling by Iranian regime had led to one dead and a number of civilians wounded.
The military activities in the region has caused grave concern among Kurdish population and the local people consider this as a measure against the oppressed people of this region who have been fighting for their fundamental rights for decades. In the indiscriminate shelling many farms were set on fire and herd destroyed.
Also this from earlier in the week:
NCRI In a statement by the clerical regime’s judiciary in Sistan and Baluchistan province, southeast Iran, the hanging of three men were announced.
Death sentences for Abdulmalek Faqirdadi, Shirdel Shahiki-rad and Hamidreza Saber were carried out on Monday. Two were hanged in public in Zabol and the third one was hanged in Zahedan prison.
The three were charged with being rebels. This province has been the scene of fierce clashes between rebel groups and security forces over the past year .The state-run news agency also reported that eight members of the security forces were killed by the rebels between Zahedan and Bam last Saturday.
NCRI – The mullahs’ regime hanged four people in the cities of Tabriz and Zabol and in a prison in the city of Zahedan.
Abdol-Malek Faghirdadi, Shirdel Shahiki-Rad were hanged in public in Zabol and Hamid-Reza Saber was hanged in a prison yard in Zahedan, southeastern Iran, according to the official news agency IRNA.
A young man only identified as M.A. was hanged in public in the northwestern city of Tabriz. Another man identified as Hamid was sentenced to death in Tehran by the regime’s judiciary, according to government-run daily Kayhan on August 12.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
August 16, 2006
I doubt Human Rights Watch is paying attention, they are probably busy figuring out other ways to condemn the Israelis. See my earlier article on these wargames here.
The other worry I have, this puts 12 regiments of Iranian forces on the Iran-Iraq border during a huge Shia Pilgrimage to Baghdad:
Iraq ordered all vehicles off the streets of the capital, fearing a possible attack on thousands of Shi’ite pilgrims gathering in Baghdad on Saturday to mark the death of a revered 8th-century imam.
The government on Friday announced a two-day vehicle ban in areas around the imam’s shrine in Khadimiya in northern Baghdad, but the prime minister’s office and Defense Ministry said on Saturday it was now Baghdad-wide and would last indefinitely.
Seven pilgrims walking to Khadimiya were shot dead by gunmen in a car in the largely Sunni district of al-Adel on Friday night. Car bombings are also a common occurrence in Baghdad.