Velyat: Iran’s annual Air Defence Drill

Iran started a massive, two-day air defence drill in its sprawling central desert, on October 12, 2021.

Highlights

  • In the annual manoeuvres called Velyat, both the army and the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard were taking earlier.
  • Now, elite air force, air defense units and the Guard’s airspace division would participate in the drill.
  • Iran regularly holds such drills in order to assess the troops’ combat reading readiness and demonstrate its military capabilities.

Background

  • Earlier in October, Iran had held a drill near its border with Azerbaijan. During the drill, it displayed military capabilities near a neighbour, for which Iran is increasingly skeptical for its ties to the West and Israel.
  • This military drill was conducted in the light that, Azerbaijan and Israel have strengthened their military alliance in the recent months. Israel supplies high-tech drones to help Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh region.
  • The Nagorno-Karabakh region remained on edge over Iran’s escalating nuclear programme.

2015 Nuclear Deal

Talks in Vienna to revive tattered Iran’s 2015 accord with world powers have stopped since June, 2021. No date is set for their resumption. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran drastically limited its enrichment of uranium in exchange of lifting economic sanctions. In 2018, Former American President, Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew USA from 2015 accord. This raised tensions across Middle East and resulted into a series of attacks and incidents.

Breaching Limits

With the discontinued talks in Tehran, Iran has breached limits set by the nuclear deal. Iran is enriching small amounts of uranium to its levels to weapons-grade purity. Though, Iran claims that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

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