Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force unleashed a volley of ballistic missiles at Israeli weapons of mass destruction sites in a simulated attack Friday, Iranian Tasneem News Agency reported.
The outlet added that the last day of the Payambar-e Azam 17 (The Great Prophet) war game included several recently unveiled suicide drones launched at Israeli sites.
Responding to Israeli Threats
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri revealed on the sidelines that the exercise, though pre-planned, was hastened by recent Israeli threats.
“As the images will be shown to the whole world, different types of missiles launched from different directions but they simultaneously and accurately hit a specific target and completely destroyed the designated target at a long distance,” he said.
Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami warned the Jewish state that the difference between an exercise and an actual attack lies only in changing “the angles of launching missiles,” adding that the “drill was also intended to test the updated missile systems of the IRGC Air Force Command.”
Iranian Nuclear Negotiations
The five-day drill in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the coasts of Hormozgan, Bushehr, and Khuzestan provinces began on December 20, involving IRGC ground, naval, and air forces, as well as some units of the Basij, an IRGC paramilitary volunteer militia.
The exercise coincided with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s visit to Israel, where he was told by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that the Iranian nuclear program negotiations in Vienna had “profound ramifications” for Israeli security, hence needed to be suspended.
The negotiations are “to revive a 2015 accord that saw Tehran agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.”
According to Bennett, the monetary windfall from sanction relief would be used by Tehran to buy weapons that could be used against Israel. He has also stated that Israel would not be bound by any agreement with the world powers. Defense minister Benny Gantz has also threatened military operations against Iranian nuclear facilities.