Sunday, May 20, 2018

Iran threatens swift retaliation on U.S. bases

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran declared Wednesday that it can destroy nearby U.S. military bases and strike Israel within minutes of an attack on the Islamic Republic, reflecting tensions over Iran's suspected nuclear program.

The veiled threat came during a military drill that has included the firing of ballistic missiles.

The elite Revolutionary Guards, conducting the war games in Iran's central desert, said that the missiles were aimed at mock-ups of foreign military bases.

Israel and the United States have hinted at the possibility of military strikes against Iran if sanctions and diplomacy do not rein in Iran's nuclear development program. The West suspects Iran may be aiming to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

The semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Gen. Ami Ali Hajizadeh of the Revolutionary Guards as saying U.S. bases are in range of Iran's missiles and could be hit in retaliatory strikes. He referred to Israel as "occupied territories."

"Measures have been taken so that we could destroy all these bases in the early minutes of an attack," said Hajizadeh, chief of the Guards' air-space division.

Israeli officials refused to comment. There was no immediate comment from Washington.

Hajizadeh said the Guards also successfully test fired an anti-ship missile that could sink U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf. Gen. Hajizadeh told state TV that the shore-to-sea ballistic missile, called "Persian Gulf," has a range of 180 miles.

State TV showed video of the launching of a white missile that hit a huge target in gulf waters.

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