Iran has reportedly test-fired two ballistic missiles with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” written in Hebrew on their sides.
The show of force comes as United States vice president Joe Biden is in Israel for a diplomatic visit, in part to ease concerns about last year’s US-led international nuclear deal with Iran.
Mr Biden says the United States stands ready to act if Iran violates the terms of the deal.
Iran has test-launched two ballistic missiles believed to bear an inflammatory message written in Hebrew on their metal flanks:
“Israel must be wiped out”.
The range of the weapons is provocative, too, with an Iranian military figure saying they were designed to be able to hit Israel from a safe distance.
The missiles hit targets in the Sea of Oman around 1-thousand-400 kilometres away.
Parts of Iran are just a thousand kilometres from the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division is General Amir Ali Hajizadeh.
He says the missile lauches were a response to international sanctions against Iran.
(Translated)”This capability is a product of the sanctions and pressure by enemies. Naturally, the more the enemies add to the pressure and sanctions, the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards and other revolutionary and religious forces will react by multiplying their efforts, and we will raise the capabilities every day, God willing.”
The launch follows similar drills in recent days.
The United States says it would not be a surprise if there were additional missile launches over the next few days.
Ballistic missiles have the potential to be equipped with nuclear warheads, which Iran insists it does not possess.
Last year, Iran agreed to a historic international deal designed to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons while still allowing it to use the technology for energy production.
US vice president Joe Biden is in Israel for diplomatic talks.
He says the United States will act if Iran violates the nuclear agreement.
“The face of the enemy has changed and morphed in many ways. But it also presents some small opportunity. And that’s why it’s absolutely … we’re united in the belief that 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. We will act.”
The day before the most recent launch, US officials said Iran’s missile tests did not violate the nuclear deal.
But they said they were very likely to breach a United Nations resolution calling on Iran not to undertake ballistic-missile activity.
Iranian leaders have threatened to abandon the worldwide nuclear agreement if it conflicts with the country’s national interests.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the United States will work to prevent Iran developing its missile program.
“We are pleased that we’ve been able to successfully implement that diplomatic agreement to prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That makes our country and the region safer. But we will continue to redouble our efforts with our allies and partners in the region to try to limit Iran’s ability to continue to develop their missile program outside of international conventions.”