- Missiles marked in Hebrew with call for Israel's destruction
- Biden says U.S. `will act' if nuclear deal is violated
Iran tested two ballistic missiles carrying markings calling for Israel’s destruction, hours after Washington said it would investigate whether an earlier launch violated United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The test on Wednesday and its bellicose message coincided with a trip by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Israel, where he assured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Obama administration would take action against any Iranian violation of the nuclear accord with world powers signed in July.
“After the nuclear deal, enemies are targeting the security of Iran,” Brigadier-General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division, was quoted Wednesday as saying in a Fars news agency report.
In a separate report by the Iranian Students News Agency, Hajizdeh said the missiles have a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) to strike Israel if necessary.
“If they initiate wickedness, we will target them in any spot throughout their country,” he reportedly said. Fars said the missiles launched on Wednesday bore the words “Israel must disappear off the face of the Earth,” written in Hebrew.
If Netanyahu vehemently opposed the nuclear deal, so, too, did some members of the Iranian Guards and other hardliners challenging the more moderate President Hassan Rouhani. The president’s domestic opponents have watched his standing improve with the nuclear deal, which eased crippling economic sanctions. In elections last month, he shored up his support in parliament and a key assembly.
State-run media said the missiles fired Wednesday successfully struck targets 1,400 kilometers away, state-run media said. Iran also tested ballistic missiles fired from silo-based launchers in various locations nationwide on Tuesday, according to state-run Press TV.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday that if that day’s test is found to violate UN Security Council resolutions, then the U.S. will raise the matter in the council. Firing of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons would be a violation.
The resolutions are separate from the nuclear deal that was formally enacted in January. Curbs on Iran’s nuclear program meant to try to ensure its activities are civilian were traded for the lifting of economic and financial sanctions.
Iranian officials have routinely said they don’t intend to build nuclear weapons and that their missile program is defensive.