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Iran Air Force Conducting War Drills with American Planes

Iran is in the midst of a three-day air war drill using American planes, the Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.

“The goal of holding this drill is the creation of readiness so as to be able to combat any threat, and should a war occur, the Air Force will be the first force to enter the battlefield,” Iranian Air Force Gen. Masoud Rouzkhosh told state media. “The newest armaments of the Air Force like precision-guided bombs and laser-guided missiles will be used in this year’s drill.”

Iran is using American-made planes for the exercises, including F4 and F5 fighter jets, as well as Boeing airliners, which are used for mid-air refueling. The U.S. Treasury Department gave Boeing a license to sell new planes to Iran last month.

Russian-made war planes are also being used. Rouzkhosh stated that the exercises have consisted of “combat situations in a real-like battle scene” using F14 and Mig29 fighter jets, as well as practicing jamming radar waves.

The drills come at a time when senior Iranian officials have been increasing their accusations that the United States is violating the terms of last year’s nuclear deal, claiming that America’s refusal to lift sanctions related to Iran’s non-nuclear activities, such as support for terrorism, is a violation of the agreement. Paragraph 37 of the agreement states that “Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.” The West took this to refer to the imposition of nuclear sanctions, but Iranian leaders have often publicly interpreted it to refer to sanctions of any kind.

Iran is upset about American claims that “Iranians must do certain things, such as ceasing their support for terrorists and halting their missile activities,” Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, who is in charge of Iran’s judicial system, complained to Farsi-language media on Monday. “However, what they mean by terrorists are resistance groups like Hezbollah of Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, which have stood against the violations and crimes of the Zionist regime.”

Both Hamas and Hezbollah are internationally acknowledged terrorist organizations.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made similar remarks on Twitter on Wednesday:

“These comments are part of a calculated gamble to gain additional sanctions relief without any meaningful changes in Iranian behavior,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), explained to the Free Beacon. “By constantly referring to perceived failures in American compliance with the accord, Iran is able to threaten the durability of the deal, thereby demonstrating it has exit options.”

“For months now, Iranian officials have provided a steady stream of criticism against the West for allegedly failing to live up to its own promises pursuant to the accord that would grant Tehran meaningful sanctions relief,” Taleblu added.

In September, a top advisor to Khamenei said that Iran would prefer to be barred from the international financial system, rather than abiding by the regulations of international financial watchdog organizations and ceasing its financing of anti-Israel terrorist organizations.

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said earlier this month that his group was looking to “enhance and develop” its ties with Iran. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged in June that the terror group’s “income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

[Photo: Fars News ]