2,000-km missiles designed to reach Israel: IRGC

March 10, 2016

TEHRAN – The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force has said the new long-range ballistic missiles have been designed and developed to hit Iran’s enemies, Israel in particular.

Speaking to reporters at the site of the ongoing nationwide missile exercises staged by the IRGC on Wednesday, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that the drills are being staged with the aim of strengthening missile bases’ preparedness.

“We are not after territorial expansion but anyone who attempts to make a destructive or oppressive move against Iran will be targeted by our missiles and equipment,” Tasnim quoted the commander as saying.

“The Zionist regime’s evil deeds are clear to us,” he stated. “The reason why we designed the 2000-km missiles is to target the farthest enemy which is the Zionist regime.”

The nearest point in Iran is around 1,000 km from Tel Aviv.

The IRGC forces test-fired two types of Qadr ballistic missiles during the drills in north of Iran on Wednesday morning. The drills started a few days earlier.

The two ballistic missiles, Qadr-H and Qadr-F, were launched from the heights of East Alborz Mountains, north of Iran, and hit the targets on the Makran coasts, southeast of the country.

The projectiles streaked along Iran’s airspace for some 1,400 kilometers before hitting the targets.

--- U.S. caught in contradictory remarks over missiles

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday that Washington would review the incident and, if it is confirmed, raise it in the UN Security Council and seek an “appropriate response”.

“We also continue to aggressively apply our unilateral tools to counter threats from Iran’s missile program,” Toner added, in a possible reference to additional U.S. sanctions, according to Reuters.

In contrary remarks, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday night the missile launch would not constitute a breach of the deal.

“I do want to make it clear that such tests, if they are true, are not a violation of the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” signed between Iran and the 5+1 group -- Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany – in July 2015.

“We have and we will use unilateral and multilateral tools to address this. If these latest reports are true, we’ll take them up appropriately,” he was quoted as saying by Press TV.

“We’re not going to turn a blind eye to this... I’m just trying to get to a technical point here, which is that it’s not a violation of the Iran deal itself,” he noted.

--- Commander says Iran’s missile power unstoppable

Hossein Salami, lieutenant commander of the IRGC, on Wednesday highlighted Iran’s missile capabilities, saying anti-Iran sanctions helped the country develop its missile power.

Speaking on the sidelines of a ballistic missile launch during the drills, Salami stated that several missiles with different ranges were test-fired in various parts of the country during the military exercises underway across Iran.

“In addition to continued exercises, we also consider the real launch of missiles in a bid to improve the preparedness of our forces,” he stated.

“The main objective of the drills was to demonstrate the (country’s) resolve for defense and deterrence,” General Salami said, adding that the missiles protect all Islamic countries, bringing peace, support, and might for the friends of Iran’s revolution.

“The drill’s message for the enemies is defense, resistance, and deterrence,” the general noted.

“The missiles test-fired today are the outcome of sanctions,” he said, reiterating that the country’s missile development was made possible through the anti-Iran sanctions.

He also referred to the missile capabilities of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, saying, “When Hezbollah has stockpiled more than 100,000 missiles, (obviously) the Islamic Republic possesses tens of times more missiles in various classes.”

Salami also reaffirmed that Iran’s missile power is not stoppable.

“We will transfer all our experiences and achievements to our brothers in the Muslim world and the resistance front against the U.S., Israel, and their regional allies,” the general remarked.