Iran Holds Air Defense Drill at Nuclear Plant, Vows 'Crushing' Response to Israeli Attacks

Drill is Iran's second at a nuclear site this month, as negotiations with the U.S. and Europe over Tehran's nuclear program are adjourned

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The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, 2010.
The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, 2010.Credit: AP Photo/Mehr News Agency, Majid Asgaripour

Iran held an unannounced air defense drill at a nuclear facility for the second time this month on Monday, as a senior military commander warned of a "crushing" response against any Israeli attack.

The semi-official Fars news agency reported that sounds of anti-aircraft fire heard on Monday from around the Bushehr nuclear power plant were caused by an air defense exercise.

"This exercise took place at 5 A.M. local time (1:30 GMT) with full preparation and coordination with the armed forces," a local official, Mohammadtaqi Irani, told Fars.

Gholamali Rashid, one of Iran's top military commanders, was quoted by Iranian news agency nournews as saying during the military exercise: "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."

In early December, Iranian air defenses fired a missile as part of an exercise over the central town of Natanz, which also houses nuclear installations.

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States have resumed in a bid to revive Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, which the United States abandoned three years ago, reimposing harsh sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran's arch-foe, Israel, has warned it will adopt other measures should diplomacy fail to curb Iran's fast-advancing nuclear program.

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