DUBAI — Iran has threatened to destroy US military bases across the Middle East and target Israel within minutes of being attacked, Iranian media reported Wednesday, as Revolutionary Guards extended test-firing of ballistic missiles into a third day.
Israel has hinted it may attack Iran if diplomacy fails to secure a halt to its disputed nuclear energy program.
The United States also has mooted military action as a last-resort option but has frequently nudged the Israelis to give time for intensified economic sanctions to work against Iran.
“These bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands (Israel) are also good targets for us,” Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.
Haji Zadeh said 35 US bases were within reach of Iran’s ballistic missiles, the most advanced of which commanders have said could hit targets 2,000 km away.
“We have thought of measures to set up bases and deploy missiles to destroy all these bases in the early minutes after an attack,” he added.
It was not clear where Haji Zadeh got his figures on US bases in the region. American military facilities in the Middle East are located in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Turkey, and it has around 10 bases further afield in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Defense analysts are often sceptical about what they describe as exaggerated military assertions by Iran and say the country’s military capability would be no match for sophisticated US defense systems.
Iranian media reported that this week’s three-day tests involved dozens of missiles and domestically-built drones that successfully destroyed simulated air bases.
Iran has upped its fiery anti-West rhetoric in response to the launch Sunday of a total European Union embargo on buying Iranian crude oil — the latest calibrated increase in sanctions aimed at pushing Tehran into curbing nuclear activity.
Revolutionary Guards commanders have also threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which more than a third of the world’s seaborne oil trade passes out of the Gulf, in response to the increasingly harsh sanctions.
Major powers have said they would tolerate no obstruction of commercial traffic through the Strait, and the United States maintains a formidable naval presence in the Gulf region. — Reuters