Iran holds extensive military exercises as US prepares ‘alternatives’ to diplomacy

Iran says loud noise heard near Karaj was rocket fired by IRGC in training exercise

The loud noise heard near the Iranian town Karaj, west of the capital Tehran, was caused by a rocket fired by the Revolutionary Guards during a training exercise, state news agency IRNA reported on Wednesday.

“The loud noise heard this afternoon in the suburbs of Karaj was caused by the firing of a rocket during a training exercise… managed [by] one of the Guards’ headquarters, which has caused some speculations and rumors online,” a spokesman for the IRGC said.

“Such exercises are not uncommon, and we call upon our dear compatriots not to pay attention to the rumors spread by the opponents and enemies of the Iranian nation,” the statement added.

Karaj is a sensitive location in Iran, as it hosts a centrifuge-parts workshop in the Tessa complex which Tehran said was sabotaged in June last year. Centrifuges are used to enrich uranium.

Iran is currently negotiating with Western countries in Vienna to revive the abandoned 2015 nuclear deal.

Currently, tensions are high over whether or not the Vienna talks to revive the accord would succeed.

The US has long been saying that if diplomacy failed with Iran, it was willing to turn to “plan B”, without specifying details.

Meanwhile, Washington-ally Israel has grown impatient and has repeatedly announced it is preparing for a military strike on Iranian nuclear targets and would act unilaterally if necessary.

Iran conducted war games in December as a warning to Israel and the Revolutionary Guards said they would respond to any Israeli attacks on its nuclear program by targeting all the sites used to launch the attacks.

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