Iran builds up air defenses as nuclear talks wind down

Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) air defense force, unveiled the Ghadir phased-array radar in Ahwaz city in southwestern Khuzestan province near the Iraq border, state television said late on Saturday. Iran says the Ghadir unit is designed and manufactured entirely inside the country and can detect a plane at 600 km (373 miles) and a ballistic missile at 1,100 km.

DEBKAfile’s military sources: If what the Iranian general said is true, then Tehran has set up a radar system capable of identifying Israeli ballistic missiles potentially on the way to Iran – moments after they are launched. The distance between the two points is 1,200 km.

"Discovering and tracking micro aerial vehicles (MAV) … is one of the special qualities of the Ghadir radar system,” the general added, as in Vienna, the nuclear talks reached their final, uncertain stage. He did not explain the rationale for deploying the new radar system at Ahwaz, where Iran’s southwestern oil fields are located.

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