France Threatens Military Strike Against Iran, Russia Practices Reprisals, As Iran Equips Navy With Cruise Missiles

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Context

France warned Iran it faces risk of military strike if it continues its attempts at nuclear proliferation. France’s UN Ambassador Gerard Araud on Wednesday cautioned Tehran against nuclear armament saying it could have “disastrous consequences in the region.”

Russia has already initiated military exercises such as Center-2011 in anticipation of regional conflicts. The Russian army along with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan deployed 12,000 troops in a simulation of an Iranian attack on Caspian oil fields. The forces were briefed on a two stage scenario consisting of a first stage naval attack on the Caspian Sea. The second stage involves a large-scale air and ground attack from the south.

Tensions have risen with Iran’s announcements that it would equip its navy with cruise missiles and refusal to establish a “red phone” link. The Iranian defense minister on Wednesday told reporters the Qadar cruise missile would be given to the Revolutionary Guards navy. The new rocket would be able to stroke targets within 200 kilometers. The missiles could be fired from the coast or from vessels of different classes, increasing their operational usefulness. Iran’s navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayari, said on Tuesday the cruise missiles would be deployed close to US waters.

The Qader missile was unveiled last month by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tehran has insisted these arsenals are for defensive purposes. The Iranian navy recently boosted its presence in international waters sending in ships to both the Indian and Mediterranean oceans.

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