As Tehran Issues Daily Threats to US Over Sanctions Extension, Iranian Commander Boasts Enhanced Quantity, Quality of Long-Range Ballistic-Missile Arsenal
Alongside daily threats from the Iranian regime to “retaliate” if US President Barack Obama signs a ten-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force asserted on Tuesday that Tehran has enhanced the quantity and quality of its ballistic missiles, the semi-official state news agency Fars reported.
According to the report — that also reminded readers of the IRGC’s testing in March of long-range missiles, one of which was adorned with the Hebrew message: “Israel should be wiped off the earth” — Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said, “The Iranian authorities and experts have used innovative and shortcut methods to produce inexpensive missiles, and today we are witnessing an increase in production.”
Claiming that Iran has become “self-sufficient” where its military capabilities are concerned, Hajizadeh also boasted about the enhancement of the missiles’ “precision-striking power.”
Fars then referred to a statement made in August by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, according to which the Islamic Republic has “limitless” possibilities for its development of “liquid- or solid-fueled” ballistic missiles.
Dehqan said at the time, “Ninety percent of the country’s defense systems have reached an acceptable standard and enjoy competitive quality compared with the weapons of advanced countries,” adding that Iranian experts have made “great strides” in building satellites, satellite carriers and missile launchpads.
Dehqan’s remarks came a month after IRGC Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami announced that “tens of thousands of destructive long-range missiles” spread across the Middle East are ready to wipe Israel off the map. As The Algemeiner reported, Salami said, “Today, the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are provided more than ever.”
This sentiment was also echoed in September. A banner on the side of a truck carrying a new long-range Iranian ballistic missile — the Zolfaqar — in a military parade in Tehran issued a direct threat to the Jewish state. “If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa into dust,” it read.
In October, Mohsen Rafighdoost — a former IRGC minister who now heads the Noor Foundation — reportedly told a political gathering, “We have warehouses full [of missiles] in Tehran, Zanjan [in northwest Iran] and Oshnavieh [in the Western Azerbaijan Province in northwest Iran] that can strike Tel Aviv.”
Less blatant threats from the Iranian regime have been issued of late against the United States, which Tehran continues to claim is on the verge of breaching the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the nuclear deal signed between the Islamic Republic and six world powers in July 2015.
As The Algemeiner reported on Monday, following the unanimous US Senate vote to extend sanctions, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that there would be serious consequences to every American violation of the JCPOA. “Our reaction in the first stage will be a political and legal move, and if we fail to reach a certain solution to the US breaches, we will press on with our measures in various fields according to a package we have,” he declared, in a veiled reference to possible military steps or speeding up of nuclear activity.
The United States rejects Iranian accusations that it has already violated or plans to breach any clauses of the JCPOA.