Live Tests of the Russian-made Tor M1 missiles

The picture accompanying this article betrays the state of mind prevailing among the political and military leaders of Iran. They have become extremely jittery. And, accordingly, the military exercise, which began Monday, Jan. 22, of their Revolutionary Guards Corps’ missile unit, commanded by Brigadier General Majeed Ayineh, was quite different from the one announced.

Tehran reported officially that the homemade Zalzal and Fajr-5 short- and medium-range missiles were fired in the course of the drill.

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military sources, the exercise was really staged as a secret test of the new Tor M1 anti-missile missile system just delivered by Russia and shown in the picture.

(Tuesday, Jan. 23, Rosoboronexport Director General Sergei Chemezov confirmed it had completed delivery of the Tor-M1 systems to Iran under contract in late December. Last week, Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov announced delivery had been completed.)

The Zalzal and Fajr-5 were fired to simulate American missiles heading in for strikes at Iran’s nuclear installations as well as Revolutionary Guards bases and command posts. The new Russian hardware was deployed to see if it could knock them out.

Our military sources report that the drill was observed by missile experts of the Russian Rosoboronexport arms export monopoly. They are in Tehran to tender advice on how to integrate the sophisticated Russian missile equipment into Iran’s anti-air defense deployment

The results of the secret test of the new Russian system are not yet in. But the exercise must have given American and Israel spy satellites their first opportunity to photograph and survey the Tor M1 in action in real battle conditions.

Iran’s leaders, jittery themselves, have also acted to calm the fears of the general population. The Iranian state news agency released a statement on Jan. 24 – in Farsi only – reporting that the USS Stennis Strike Force had suddenly quit Persian Gulf waters the previous day.

In actual fact, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports, the Stennis has not yet arrived.

It is still on the way to the Gulf with 80 fighter-bombers on its decks and 6,500 American soldiers aboard the group’s vessels.

Clearly, the Iranian government felt an urgent need to calm the population, which has been panicked by reports of the US Gulf buildup, including two aircraft carriers (one of them, the USS Eisenhower) opposite their shores.

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