Feb 26, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

Iran’s  Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) held a two-day drill named Great Prophet 15 which culminated on Saturday with the launching of two anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target in the northern Indian Ocean. 

Iranian ICBMs: IDF and US Military in Range

According to Iranian media reports, the missiles fired from central Iran successfully hit a target at a distance of 1,120 miles, putting Israeli and US military targets in range. The US frequently has carrier strike groups in the region to ensure safe and free shipping through the vital Strait of Hormuz.

“Long-range missiles for maritime targets indicates that if the enemies … show any ill will towards our national interests, maritime trade routes or territory, they will be targeted and destroyed by our missiles,” Sepahnews quoted armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri as saying.

 

This is  Iran’s third military exercise in less than two weeks after a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday and Thursday, and an army drone drill on January 5-6. Last week’s drill included a bomb-carrying drone attack on a missile defense system followed by the launch of a barrage of “new generation” surface-to-surface Zolfaghar and Dezful solid-fuel ballistic missiles.

In addition to the drills, the IRGC revealed one of its new underground “strategic missile bases” located on the “shores of the Persian Gulf,” 

“Our logic in defending the territorial integrity, the independence of the country, and the achievements of the Islamic Revolution is strengthening,” said the top commander of the IRGC, Gen. Hossein Salami, according to Mehr News. “What you see today is one of several IRGC Naval Strategic Missile facilities.”

Iranian Missiles

Iran has invested heavily in its missile program and possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles, some capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe. Iran also provides missiles to others, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Iranian missiles have been used by the Iraqi militia against the US military. One such attack last year targeted US facilities at the Al-Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, and left more than 100 U.S. service personnel with Traumatic Brain Injury. 

The exercises started two days after Iran marked the anniversary of the assassination of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani, killed in a US drone strike in Iraq in January last year. Possible as a result of the commemoration of this event, Iran has increased tensions with the US. Earlier this month, seized a South Korean ethanol tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. 

Also, Iran announced that it has begun enriching uranium above the 20% levels permitted by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed with President Obama in 2015. President Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018. The announcement coincides with news that the team of president-elect Joe Biden is already negotiating to re-enter the JCPOA which would allow Iran to run an unimpeded nuclear weapons program in under four years.