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The Artesh Air Force, Artesh Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base, and the IRGC Aerospace Force conducted the Defenders of the Velayat Sky 97 air defense military exercises throughout Iran from November 5 – 6. The exercises follow the annually celebrated November 4 anniversary of the 1979 U.S. embassy hostage crisis in Iran as well as the November 5 reimposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened to restart “nuclear activities cancelled [under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)]” on August 13 if Europe cannot guarantee Iran the economic benefits of the nuclear deal. Khamenei called on Europe to continue importing Iranian oil and doing business in Iran. Europe has failed thus far to implement the special purpose vehicle (SPV) which would allow European buyers to continue importing Iranian oil despite U.S. sanctions.
Israel perceives Iran’s nuclear program as an immediate security threat and may take preemptive military action against Iranian nuclear sites. Israel has raised issue with Iran’s nuclear program and claimed that Iran has continued to pursue a nuclear weapons program since the JCPOA’s 2016 implementation. Israel launched strikes against nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria, in 1981 and 2006 respectively.