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A major military exercise carried out by Israel earlier this month seemed to be a test-run for any potential strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, the New York Times reported, citing US officials.
In Athens, an official with the Greek air force's central command confirmed to AFP the substance of the report, stating that it had taken part in "joint training exercises" with Israel off the Mediterranean island of Crete.
The maneuvers, code-named "Glorious Spartan 08," took place on May 28 and June 12, and consisted of aerial maneuvers and knowledge exchange, said the Greek source, who requested anonymity.
Russia has delivered an undetermined number of Tor-M1 systems (originally built for Greece) to the Islamic Republic of Iran amid protests from the United States. It is suspected that at least 29 such systems have been transferred along with service contracts with an approximate value of $700,000,000 USD.
It has been reported in the Russian press that the Iranians will use the Tor-M1 system to defend their nuclear facilities against possible U.S. air and missile attacks (see EDM, September 20, 2006). But the Tor-M1 can take on only relatively low-flying targets (up to six kilometers) at a relatively short range (up to 12 kilometers). The Tor-M1 is good against helicopters, incoming attack planes, and low-flying slow cruise missiles. But the Tor-M1 will be unable to engage U.S. bombers, especially stealth aircraft, flying over 10 kilometers high while they release a volley of GPS-guided bombs.
Iran's status regarding the S-300 system remains controversial. They seem to have acquired an unknown number of S-300PMU-1 missiles in 1993, maybe even recently from Belarus. Iran claimed to have signed a contract with Russia on 25 December 2007 on the sales of the S-300PMU-1 missile system. Russian officials have denied this.
The S-300 is an improvement over the Tor-M1 air defense missile system. Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1s to Iran this year under a $700 million contract signed in December 2005. Iranian media reports have claimed the improved missile systems could inflict significant damage on U.S. or Israeli forces, were they to attack Iran.