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A fireball is seen as missiles launch during a joint exercise called the “Great Prophet” in the southwest of Iran, in this picture obtained on Wednesday. Photo: West Asia News Agency via Reuters

Iran fires ballistic missiles during war games in warning to Israel

  • The launch at the end of the ‘Great Prophet’ drills involved 16 of ‘hundreds’ of such weapons, the country’s top general said
  • The move was condemned by Britain’s Foreign Office, which called it a ‘threat to regional and international security’

Iran fired multiple ballistic missiles on Friday at the close of five days of military drills that generals said were a warning to arch-enemy Israel.

“These exercises were designed to respond to threats made in recent days by the Zionist regime,” armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri told state television.

“Sixteen missiles aimed and annihilated the chosen target. In this exercise, part of the hundreds of Iranian missiles capable of destroying a country that dared to attack Iran were deployed,” he added.

In a statement issued in London, the British Foreign Office condemned Iran’s use of ballistic missiles, saying it was a “threat to regional and international security”.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps take part in five days of military exercises in three provinces. Photo: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard via Sepah News/AFP

“The launch is a clear breach of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which requires that Iran not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons – including launches using ballistic missile technology,” it quoted a spokesperson as saying.

The Iranian military drills, dubbed Payambar-e-Azadm or “Great Prophet”, began Monday in Bushehr, Hormozgan and Khuzestan provinces, each of which touches the Gulf.

“The military exercise … is a serious warning to Zionist regime officials,” said Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps chief Major General Hossein Salami.

“Make the slightest mistake, we will cut off their hand.”

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The drills come after US national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday, amid the Jewish state’s opposition to efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Bennett has accused Iran of “nuclear blackmail” and charged that revenue it gained from sanctions relief would be used to acquire weapons to harm Israelis.

Israeli leaders have also hinted at striking Iran.

Iran says it wants only to develop a civil nuclear programme, but Western powers say its stocks of enriched uranium could be used to develop a nuclear weapon.