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War games carried out in the Gulf this week by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard culminated on Friday with missiles flattening a target that resembled Israel’s Dimona nuclear reaction. Guard chief, General Hossein Salami, said on state TV: “These exercises had a very clear message: a serious, real … warning to threats by the Zionist regime’s authorities to beware of their mistakes.
“We will cut off their hands if they make a wrong move. The distance between actual operations and military exercises is only a change in the angles of launching the missiles.”
The state’s semi-official news agency, Tasnim, said: “Through a simulation of the Dimona atomic facilities, the Revolutionary Guards successfully practised attacking this critical centre of the Zionist regime in its missile exercise.”
The official IRNA news agency reported the names of the missiles fired across the country’s south as Emad, Ghadr, Sejjil, Zalzal, Dezful and Zolfaghar.
It added that their ranges vary between 220 miles (350km) and 1,250 miles (2,000km).
Iran says it has fired 16 missiles in a series of drills inside the Gulf state
A military trucks carries a supersonic, anti-ship ballistic missile in 2011
Tehran’s actions have come amid heightened concerns that Israel is planning to target Iranian nuclear sites.
Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Armed Forces Chief of Staff, said Iran had simultaneously fired 16 missiles of various classes, destroying a number of set targets.
The military drills, named “Great Prophet”, started on Monday in three provinces which border the Persian Gulf – Bushehr, Hormozgan and Khuzestan.
Iran’s actions have sparked widespread condemnation with Britain describing the actions as a threat to regional and global security.
In a statement, the Foreign Office said on Friday: “We condemn Iran’s use of ballistic missiles in a test launch confirmed to have been conducted today.
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
“The launch is a clear breach of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which requires that Iran not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons – including launches using ballistic missile technology”.
“These actions are a threat to regional and international security and we call on Iran to immediately cease its activities”.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, rejected Britain’s condemnation, accusing London of meddling in the Gulf state’s defensive capacity.
Reuters reports that within the Middle East, Iran has one of the largest missile programmes, viewing such weapons as a vital deterrent and means of retaliation against adversaries, including the US, should war break out.
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Iran maintains its ballistic missiles have a range of 1,200 miles (2,000km) and are therefore capable of reaching Israel and US bases in the Middle East.
Benny Gantz, Israel’s Defence Minister, has urged world powers not to let Iran play for time at negotiations aimed at reviving the 2015 Tehran nuclear deal brokered by the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.
Under the accord, Iran had agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow international inspectors to enter the country in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
Donald Trump pulled the US out the Iran nuclear deal
Talks to save the deal began in May after Joe Biden succeeded Donald Trump as US president. Mr Trump pulled the US out of the deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018.
Since then, Tehran has started to enrich uranium up to 60 percent purity – a short step away from the 90 percent required to produce an atomic bomb.
Israel opposes the negotiations, which are due to resume on Monday, and has threatened military action if diplomacy fails.
The country is widely believed to be the only country in the Middle East with a nuclear arsenal, Reuters reports.
The drills came after US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with Israel’s Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, on Wednesday.