TEHRAN: Iranian authorities have introduced defence systems in 51 cities to counter “biological, radiological and chemical threats”, Deputy Defence Minister Mehdi Farahi has announced.

The defence ministry has “provided 51 cities in the country with the necessary installations and equipment for passive defence”, Mr Farahi was cited as saying by Irib news, the state broadcaster’s website.

He said the country was “now able to identify the threats thanks to the infrastructure put in place to confront all sorts of biological, radiological and chemical threats”.

The announcement comes as Iran is engaged in negotiations to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that granted the country much-needed sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

As momentum builds to restore the deal, Israel has been waging a last-minute push to convince allies to halt talks.

On Aug 28, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said instructions had been given to the army and the Mossad spy agency to “prepare for any scenario” in the event that the deal is passed.

In March 2021, Iran’s former defence minister Amir Hatami had said the Islamic republic should be ready to defend itself against nuclear, chemical and biological attacks.

“We must be ready to defend our nation against all threats and anything that the enemy could one day use as a tool for attack,” he said at an event commemorating a 1987 chemical attack against Iranian Kurds by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

“These include (attacks using) chemical, nuclear and biological weapons,” Hatami added, according to Fars news agency.

Meanwhile, Iran arrested 12 suspects for their alleged links with the Islamic republic’s arch enemy Israel, state media reported.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2022

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