by: Ilse Posselt
Monday, 06 February 2017 | The ordinary person arguably considers seven minutes an insufficient period of time to accomplish most of life’s everyday tasks. Seven minutes are not enough to prepare a meal, drive to work or clean the house. Yet according to an Iranian government official, “Only seven minutes is [sic] needed for the Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv.”
Mojtaba Zonour, a senior member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and a former Revolutionary Guard official, boasted proudly of the Islamic Republic’s military prowess, during a Revolutionary Guard exercise aimed at testing its missile and radar systems on Saturday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. Zonour threatened that if the United States launched a military strike against Iran, Tehran would retaliate by striking Israel’s coastal city in less than ten minutes and “raze to the ground” a United States military base in Bahrain.
Zonour’s claims follow a week of intensifying tensions between the US and Iran over the latter’s ballistic missile program. The Islamic Republic has conducted a number of missile launches since the notorious Iran nuclear deal relaxed sanctions against the country. International powers, including Israel, have objected to these tests, saying that they violate United Nations Resolution 2231 which prohibits Iran from conducting such launches for a period of eight years.
The latest launch took place just over a week ago when the Islamic Republic conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test. The missile in question, the Khorramshahr, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and with a range of 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) is “capable of reaching Israel.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the launch as a “flagrant breach” of UN resolutions and called for the reinstatement of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The prime minister who is set to meet with American President Donald Trump on February 15, also vowed to discuss with Trump the “entire failed nuclear accord.”
For its part, the US responded to the missile test by adding more persons and entities to the sanctions list, targeting those playing a role in Tehran’s missile program. US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to speak out against the Islamic Republic. “Iran is playing with fire—they do not appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!”
Over the weekend, Trump told Fox News that the Iran nuclear accord was “the worst deal I have ever seen negotiated; it was a deal that never should have been negotiated.”
Trump refrained from saying whether he would take any action regarding the deal but added that because of the accord, the Islamic Republic “lost respect [for the US] because they did not think anyone would be stupid as to make a deal like that.” The deal, he charged, “emboldened” Iran.
According to The Jerusalem Post, Iran responded to the increased sanctions forcefully “proceeding with a military exercise that further tested its missile radar capabilities.” Moreover, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Airspace Division warned the US on Saturday that “if the enemy makes a mistake, our roaring missiles will come down on them.” Hajizadeh claimed, however, that any prospective Iranian actions were defensive in nature.
Hajizadeh’s claim is in line with Iran’s usual claim that the development of weapons was solely for self-defense purposes. Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif vowed that “Iran will never use missiles produced in Iran to attack any other country.”
Netanyahu has, however, pointed to a significant hole in Zarif’s defense. The prime minister posted pictures of a missile test Iran conducted in March 2016 to his Twitter account. The missiles launched during the test were inscribed with a message in Hebrew and Arabic script stating, “Israel must be destroyed.” The text above the two pictures in Netanyahu’s tweet, questions Iran’s motives: “Iran’s foreign minister says Iran will never use its missiles to attack any other country. Really? Recently Iran tested a missile with the inscription, ‘Israel must be destroyed.’”
Netanyahu who is set to meet with the United Kingdom’s (UK) Prime Minister Theresa May today and with US President Trump next week, have said that he intends to discuss the Iranian threat with both world leaders. In a statement released by his office yesterday as the Israeli prime minister left for London, Netanyahu indicated that Iran is well aware that both America and the UK have new leaders and “are trying to test the boundaries with extraordinary aggression, gall and defiance.”
“I think that the most important thing at the moment is that countries like the US which will take the lead, Israel and the UK line up together against Iran’s aggression and set clear limits to it.”
Posted on February 6, 2017
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 06 February 2017)
Photo Credit: Mohammad Agah/ Wikipedia
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