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Iran Fires Test Missiles Bearing Phrase 'Israel Must Be Wiped Out' as US Warns of Retaliation

Iran fired two Qadr missiles which hit targets in the southeast of the country around 870 miles away, Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden said if Iran breaks terms of the nuclear deal "we will act."

by VICE News and Reuters
Mar 9 2016, 11:45am

Photo via Iranian Defense Ministry Official Website

Iran fired two test ballistic missiles on Wednesday with the phrase "Israel must be wiped out" written in Hebrew on them, according to the Iranian government's semi-official Fars News Agency.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden, speaking during a visit to Israel, promised that America "will act" if Iran breaks terms of the nuclear deal signed in July 2015. 

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) launched the missiles on Wednesday morning and said they were designed to be able to hit Israel, defying a threat of new sanctions from the US.

This followed the test-firing of several missiles on Tuesday as part of a major military exercise that the IRGC said is intended to "show Iran's deterrent power and... ability to confront any threat."

Related: Iran Is About to Execute Another 100 Prisoners for Drug Offenses

On Wednesday, the IRGC fired two Qadr missiles from northern Iran which hit targets in the southeast of the country around 870 miles away, Iranian agencies said. Iran's nearest point from Israel is around 621 miles from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

"The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2,000km (1,242 miles) is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance," Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the ISNA agency.

Israeli officials had no immediate response to the Iranian launches, which come as Israel hosts Biden for talks on regional issues. Last week, the allies concluded a joint missile defense drill in Israel.

The US State Department said it would raise Tuesday's tests at the UN Security Council. The speaker of the US House of Representatives also said lawmakers would push for more unilateral sanctions.

Two months ago, Washington imposed sanctions against businesses and individuals linked to Iran's missile program over a test of the medium-range Emad missile carried out in October 2015.

Related: This Openly Gay Iranian Author Is Seeking Asylum in Israel

The IRGC, a powerful force that reports directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is deeply suspicious of the US and its allies. It maintains dozens of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, the largest stock in the Middle East.

Washington fears those missiles could be used to carry a nuclear warhead at some point in the future, even after Iran implemented the nuclear deal with world powers in January that imposes strict limits and checks on its disputed nuclear program.

Tehran's missile program is subject to UN Security Council resolution 2231 that calls on the Islamic Republic not to develop missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Iran says its missiles are solely a conventional deterrent.

Washington said Tuesday's tests would not violate the Iran nuclear deal itself, under which Tehran has won relief from economic sanctions. That deal was also endorsed in resolution 2231. 

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