|Iran's Supreme Leader Khamanei: Just where he decides to point|
his vast military forces probably interests many parties
Iran Launches ‘Massive’ War Drills | Drills Code-named “Towards Jerusalem” | Adam Kredo | Washington Free Beacon | November 21, 2013 10:19 am | Iranian military forces launched a series of “massive military drills” across nine provinces on Wednesday following an order by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to state media reports. The drills, code-named “Towards Jerusalem,” will continue over the coming days and throughout the rest of the year.While they sharpen their "Towards Jerusalem" military capabilities, Supreme Leader Khamenei and his 'negotiating' team are letting it be known in Geneva that no one should be expecting a happy ending until the 5+1 people first deal appropriately with what Abbas Araqchi, called by the BBC "a senior Iranian negotiator", with a "lack of trust". From the standpoint of Iran, he told state-controlled Iranian TV, "as long as trust is not restored, we cannot continue constructive negotiations".
At least three battalions of Iran’s “fast reaction” Basij Force participated in the drills, which come as Western nations and Iran try to finalize a deal aimed at halting the country’s contested nuclear program. A lieutenant commander of one of the volunteer fighting battalions said that the drills are meant to show off Iran’s ability to confront enemies at key points across the country, according to Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency. “The main purpose for these war games is to retain preparedness and increase the combat capability of the forces to confront any possible move by domestic and foreign enemies,” Hossein Karimi, lieutenant commander of the Golestan’s Neynava Corps, was quoted as saying.
Additional fighting brigades will enter the war games over the next few days and at other points throughout the year, according to Karimi.
State-run media published multiple pictures of the armed Iranian forces battling through explosions and taking enemy forces hostage.
The “Towards Jerusalem” military drills began on the same day that Iran dispatched a destroyer, helicopter carrier warship, and heavy submarine to East Asian waters. These military maneuvers also come just a day after back-to-back blasts at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killed 23 and wounded more than 100 others. Iranian officials immediately blamed Israel for the attack, despite an al Qaeda-affiliated group having publicly claimed responsibility [more]
Just for the record, Araqchi was quoted two weeks ago saying negotiations among the parties "were productive, stressing that lots of work still remains to be done". Evidently the Iranian military is busy doing some of that work right now.
Meanwhile, this Iranian news source quoting "senior Western diplomats in Geneva" says "the new round of talks were more upbeat and could likely lead to a deal this weekend."