As speculation continues about whether Israel, with or without the United States, will launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, an Iranian website described how the Islamic Republic would repulse a ground attack against it.
The report on the website was translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
On March 15 the website Mashreq News, which is close to security circles in Iran, cited statements by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Al-Qods Forces commander Qassem Suleimani, who tauntingly declared at a March 13 ceremony that his “regime's military forces will work determinedly, with honor and national force, and will demonstrate their zeal in facing any blind attack from the enemy.”
The statement elaborated on Suleimani’s remarks, describing in detail how the IRGC would repel a ground attack on Iran, including a list of the means of warfare it would use.
According to the website, the account is based on the IRGC's latest military maneuvers in eastern Iran and assumes that the country would be invaded from the east. The maneuvers included mechanized infantry, armored forces, helicopters and concealed forces.
MEMRI’s analysis noted that what is remarkable about this article is that, while all assessments and predictions published in the media in recent months have envisioned a surgical Western air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Mashreq discussed an extensive ground attack in eastern Iran, stressing the country's ability to repel such an attack by listing the weapons systems in its possession.
The article is presumably intended to calm the fears of Iran's citizens over a potential strike against the country. However, beyond the failure to address the most plausible threat of an air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, the outdated military equipment attributed to the IRGC may indicate Iran's military inferiority, at least in terms of its ground capability, MEMRI notes.
The article’s main points, as outlined by MEMRI, is that the IRGC forces will use remotely operated and controlled equipment, such as "smart mines" and anti-personnel bounding mines that have been modified to combat enemy vessels.
IRGC forces will use a combined force of T-72 tanks and troops equipped with semi-heavy arms and rocket launchers. The tanks will be concealed underground and will be capable of deploying quickly from their hiding places to overtake the enemy and destroy its targets, as simulated in recent IRGC maneuvers.
According to Mashreq, the tank's 125-millimeter, automatic loading 2A46M cannon and its "extremely lethal weaponry," the APFSDS (armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot), will be highly effective in destroying or disabling enemy tanks.
The IRGC forces will also employ BMP-2 armored personnel carriers (APCs), which carry a 30-millimeter automatic cannon and launchers for Soviet made AT-5 and AT-4 second generation wire-guided antitank missiles. The APCs are equipped with an Iranian-made Tousan missile and also feature defense systems against chemical, biological, and radiological WMDs, and a masking system to evade enemy laser-guided missiles.
The website explained that all these assets can evade enemy detection with stealth abilities, including reducing their heat and radar signatures.
Mashreq explained that during the recent maneuvers, the IRGC forces were assisted by light motorcycle units armed with light and semi-heavy weapons, such as shoulder-fired and surface-to-air missiles. These units, which conceal themselves in different areas, emerge from hiding at the appropriate time, surprise the enemy, and are expected to inflict heavy losses.
Aerial support for the troops will be provided by (Bell AH-1) Cobra and Mil Mi-17 helicopters, Mashreq said. The Cobra attack helicopters will provide aerial support for ground troops. They are armed with 20-millimeter cannon, Haidar-70 (sic.) rockets, and a new generation of Toophan missiles that can be used to attack the enemy from a distance of several kilometers.
The Mil Mi-17 helicopters, which can carry some 30 soldiers, will be used for quick transport, and possess significant firepower thanks to their ability to carry six medium-range rockets on each side as well as semi-heavy machine guns.
The website also noted that the recent maneuvers included simulating the defense of ground units from aerial attack. This defense was provided by shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and SAM-6 anti-aircraft missile systems, and by artillery mounted on tanks and APCs, which is expected to provide a maximal effective aerial coverage of two-and-a-half to three kilometers.
The SAM-6 missile system tested in these maneuvers is expected to overcome enemy aircraft. Its missiles have a range of up to 25 kilometers and are effective for targets up to 14 kilometers in altitude.
On Thursday, Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon said that Iran's nuclear program is the leading global security threat.
"The main threat to regional and world stability comes from Tehran and the Iranian regime," Yaalon stressed during a visit in a high school in Kiryat Haim.
"Imagine what it would do upon achieving such capability," Yaalon said, adding, "The nuclear umbrella will not just open against us, but against the United States."
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel and the U.S. disagree on what would be a realistic timetable for stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
In an interview Thursday, Barak said Israel and the U.S. agree on the final objective of preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons, but that “the difference between us and the U.S. is the perspective on timetables.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)