Iran test fires missiles 'designed to reach Israel'

Iran test fires missiles 'designed to reach Israel'
Iran has test fired missiles possibly capable of reaching Israel, the head of the Revolutionary Guard said on Wednesday, as the Islamic Republic's missile-testing enters a second day.
3 min read
09 March, 2016

Iran missiles test

Iran has test-fired two ballistic missiles with the message "Israel must be wiped out" written on them in Hebrew.

The ballistic missiles have been designed to reach Israel, Amir Ali Hajizdeh, head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division said on Wednesday.

They were unveiled during a test aimed at showing Israel Iran's capabilities in striking it with missiles, Iran's Fars news agency quoted Hajizadeh said.

The show of force came as US Vice-president Joe Biden visited Israel on Wednesday to finalise talks on US military aid to Tel Aviv.

"The 2,000-kilometre [1,240-mile] range of our missiles is to confront the Zionist regime," Hajizadeh said.

The missile tests come shortly after the implementation of a US-led landmark nuclear deal with world powers, which it was hoped would ease tensions between Tehran and Washington.

However, conservatives have tried to carve out more influence in government and have made a number of anti-US statements in public. 

Thursday was the second day that Iran had test-fired rockets and missiles.

The country has been smacked with new sanctions by the US, shortly after old ones were dropped, due to Iran's ballistic missiles programme.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel, where Biden is meeting Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who strongly opposed the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, including the US.
A long-range Qadr ballistic missile was launched in the Alborz mountain range in northern Iran on Wednesday [Getty]

Biden did not acknowledge the missile launch directly but he issued a strong warning to the Iranians.

"A nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, to the region and the United States. And I want to reiterate which I know people still doubt here. If in fact they break the deal, we will act," he said.

Iran's Fars news agency offered pictures Wednesday it said were of the Qadr H missiles being fired.

It said they were fired in Iran's eastern Alborz mountain range to hit a target some 1,400 kilometres [870 miles] away off Iran's coast into the Sea of Oman.

Soldiers often write slogans or messages on rockets and missiles.

During Israel's 2006 war on Lebanon, Israeli children were photographed writing messages on artillery shells in a community near the border.

Israel, which is believed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Mideast, repeatedly has threatened to take military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.

While Iran has threatened to destroy Israel in the past, Hajizadeh stressed that the Islamic Republic would not fire missiles in anger or start a war with Israel.

"We will not be the ones who start a war, but we will not be taken by surprise, so we put our facilities somewhere that our enemies cannot destroy them so that we could continue in a long war," he said.

The firing of the Qadr H missiles comes after a US state department spokesman on Tuesday criticised another missile launch, saying Washington planned to bring it before the UN's Security Council.

A nuclear deal between Iran and world powers including the US is now underway, negotiated by the administration of moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

In October, Iran successfully test-fired a new guided long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile.

It was the first such test since Iran and world powers reached the nuclear deal agreement last summer.

UN experts said the launch used ballistic missile technology banned under a Security Council resolution.

Agencies contributed to this report.