Iran test-fired two ballistic missiles on Tuesday that carried the Hebrew message “Israel must be wiped out,” according to the Iranian media, in a provocative move that coincided with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel on the same day.
The two Qadr-H rockets were fired from the Alborz mountain range in northern Iran at a target some 870 miles away in the Sea of Oman, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. State news agency IRNA said the missile launch was intended to display Iran’s “deterrent power” and “all-out readiness to counter any threat.”
While such anti-Israel messaging has been displayed on Iranian weapons before, this provocation occurred after the landmark nuclear deal signed between Tehran and six world powers last July The agreement lifted a crippling international sanctions regime on the Iranian economy. Iran has conducted missile tests since, but this is the first reported post-deal display of anti-Israeli messaging in an Iranian test.
Biden, on his visit to Israel, did not address the reported provocation but he did pledge that Washington would not accept violations of the nuclear deal.
“A nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, to the region and the United States,” he said, speaking next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “And I want to reiterate, which I know people still doubt here, if in fact they break the deal, we will act.”
The medium-range missiles were designed to have the ability to reach Israel, a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ said on Wednesday after the test.
“The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 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, Reuters reported.
The test launches came a day after another missile launch stirred international criticism in light of the landmark nuclear deal. The U.S. State Department condemned Iran’s launch and said that Washington would bring Tehran in front of the United Nations Security Council, Reuters reported.