Iran says Gulf war games a warning to Israel

An explosion is seen on the surface of the water behind a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during a joint military exercise called the “Great Prophet 17” in southwest Iran, on this photo obtained on December 22, 2021. IRGC / WANA (West Asia News Agency) / Document via REUTERS

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December 24 (Reuters) – This week’s Iranian Gulf War Games were intended to send a warning to Israel, the country’s top military commanders said on Friday, amid concerns over possible Israeli plans to target Iranian nuclear sites.

Revolutionary Guard war games included ballistic and cruise missile firing. State television showed missiles flattening a target that looked like Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor at the end of the exercises on Friday.

“Thanks to a simulation of the Dimona atomic installations, the Revolutionary Guards successfully trained to attack this critical center of the Zionist regime in its missile exercise,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency said.

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“These exercises had a very clear message: a serious, real warning (…) to threats from the authorities of the Zionist regime to beware of their mistakes,” Guards chief general Hossein Salami told state television .

“We’ll cut off their hands if they make a wrong move.… The distance between actual operations and military exercises is just a change in missile launch angles,” Salami added.

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, said 16 ballistic missiles of different classes were fired simultaneously and destroyed predetermined targets.

Britain has condemned the launch of ballistic missiles during the War Games.

“These actions constitute a threat to regional and international security, and we call on Iran to immediately cease its activities,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. Read more

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh dismissed the British statement as “interference in Iran’s defensive capacity,” state media said.

Iran says its ballistic missiles have a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles) and are capable of hitting nemesis Israeli and US bases in the region.

Iran has one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East, viewing these weapons as an important deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States and other adversaries in the event of war.

Israel, which opposes efforts by world powers to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal in 2015, has long threatened military action if diplomacy fails. Iran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has called on world powers not to let Iran buy time in nuclear negotiations, which have been suspended at Iran’s request and which are expected to resume next Monday. Read more

Israel is widely regarded as the only country in the Middle East with a nuclear arsenal.

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[email protected] Edited by Gareth Jones, Hugh Lawson and Leslie Adler

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