Following the reports that the United States has increased its military presence in the Gulf, the Iranian commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ air force announced the Islamic Republic had already aimed missiles at 35 US military bases in the Gulf as well as targets in Israel, ready to be launched in case of an attack.
News agencies quoted Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh saying that U.S. bases are’ in range of Iran’s missiles and could be hit in retaliatory strikes’. He referred to Islamic Republic as “occupied territories.”
“We have thought of measures to set up bases and deploy missiles to destroy all these bases in the early minutes after an attack,” said Hajizadeh.
“These [US] bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands [a reference to Israel] are also good targets for us.”
He went on and revealed that the Guards – who have their own military divisions separate from the Iranian army – have successfully tested a shore-to-sea ballistic missile that could sink U.S. warships in the Gulf. Gen, reports The Huffington Post.
Israeli air forces said that the anti-ship missile, called “Persian Gulf,” has a range of 300 kilometers (180 miles). In addition to this, regional TV showed a video of the launching of a white missile that hit a huge target in Gulf waters.
The US military occupied several bases in the Gulf, and the navy’s Bahrain-based 5th fleet is 120 miles from the Iranian coast. Israel is about 600 miles away from Iran, writes The Guardian.
The United States has reinforced deployment of its armed forces in the Gulf, having increased the number of minesweepers and fighter jets, in case of a blocking of the strait of Hormuz by Iran.
The moves came after Iranian officials announced that in response to the oil sanctions they may shut the strait, a vital passageway in the Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s crude passes in tankers.
The Iranian government has recently revealed its intentions to discuss a bill proposed by at least 100 MPs which requires the country to block oil tankers in the Gulf.
A few days ago Islamic Republic revealed that it had launched a variety of missiles at “mock enemy bases” as part of a major war games exercise aimed at dissuading any potential outsider attack.
According to Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency, during “The Great Prophet 7” drills Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) “targeted and destroyed hypothetical bases of ultra-regional forces set up in desert areas.”
Despite the news agency did not identify the “ultra-regional forces” but it cited the current diplomatic conflict between Iran and the U.S., which has several major military installations in the region, says ABC News.
“The main aim of this drill was to demonstrate the Iranian nation’s political resolve to defend [its] vital values and national interests,” IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said, according to another state media outlet Press TV. Press TV paraphrased Salami’s description of the drills as a “firm response to those who threaten Iran with the option of military action.”
A day before its announcement, Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi told another regional news agency ISNA, that there is “no option” to end the nuclear conflict except a “diplomatic and political” one. Any other option, he said, would not be sought by a “sane” person.
“We have repeatedly emphasized that we are seeking interaction and do not welcome confrontation, but if they want to act unwisely, they must be aware that the Islamic Republic of Iran will gloriously defend its integrity…” he said. “However, I believe that we will not get to that point.”