Iran holds air defense military exercises

November 19, 2011 - 2:05 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says it has begun a four-day air defense military exercise aimed at upgrading its ability to protect its airspace and its nuclear facilities in case of an attack.

The official IRNA news agency says the drills involve the elite Revolutionary Guard as well as Iran's regular army in an area covering 800,000 kilometers in eastern Iran, near the Afghan border. The war games began Saturday morning.

The war games are taking place amid escalating tensions between Iran and the West over Iran's disputed nuclear program. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has hinted that Israel may take military action.

Iran denies that it is developing nuclear weapons.