REUTERS, (U.S.) DAPD (Germany), NEUE ZURICHER ZEITUNG (Switzerland)
NEW YORK - As television images back home showed off Tehran's latest weaponry, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepared for his final official discourse to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.
Tensions are as high as ever over Iran's nuclear program and Ahmadinejad's threats against Israel, and yet the 56-year-old is seen as something of a lame-duck back in Tehran as he serves his final year as president. That, Reuters reports, could mean an even more aggressive speech.
"Now he's been sidelined at home he will really want to ham it up abroad," said Ali Ansari of Scotland's St Andrew's University, referring to the Wednesday morning address to the U.N.
Meanwhile, Iran countered doubts about its military hardware by showing images of a new, long-distance drone, the Shahed 129 [dubbed with the Farsi and Arabic words for martyr] which can travel 2000 kilometers, thus threatening Israel, among others.
According to the Tuesday night television commentary, Iran plans navy war games that are an open challenge to U.S. military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf. On Tuesday, it was also announced that Iran will be testing four anti-ship missiles.
A Revolutionary Guard commander said that the new drones will carry out surveillance but could also be equipped with “bombs or rockets,” according to German press service Dapd.
General Amir Ali Hajizadeh warned on Sunday that if Iran feels threatened by an imminent Israeli attack, it could launch a “preventive attack” on Israel and on U.S. military bases in the region.
In New York on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama warned in a sharper tone than usual that the time for negotiation over Iran’s nuclear future was “not unlimited” and that the U.S. will “do what we must do” to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iranian nuclear sites