Tehran begins the second day of a sweeping aerial drill with a strong warning to Tel Aviv: Israeli warplanes ‘will come tumbling down’ if they step out of line.
Israel routinely threatens to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites, arguing that the country’s enrichment activities are an existential threat to Tel Aviv, which ironically is reported to have an arsenal of 200 nuclear warheads at its disposal.
The threats were repeated only last week when Gabi Ashkenazi, the chief-of-staff of Israel’s armed forces, dropped heavy hints at an upcoming attack on Iran.
In response to the threats, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, warned that Israel will pay a high price if it decides to commit such a mistake.
“One step out of line and Israeli warplanes will be completely destroyed,” said Hajizadeh, explaining that Iran will annihilate Israeli F-15 and F-16 jets, if the country is attacked.
“Even if they escape our sophisticated defense system, they will never see their bases again; because our surface-to-surface missiles are on their marks to target Israeli military bases before the dust settles,” he added.
Hajizadeh made the comments on the second day of a five-day aerial maneuver named the Sky of Velayat 2.
The maneuver, which began on Sunday and is said to be the biggest yet in Iran, involves all units of Iran’s defense forces, including the military, the IRGC, and the Air Force.
Aimed at honing Iran’s air defense skills against any potential attack on the country’s nuclear plants, the drill will cover a vast area spanning from the northwestern parts of the country all the way to the South.
On a different note, Hajizadeh said that inquiries about Russia’s failure to deliver the S-300 missiles under a previously agreed deal do not mean that Iran desperately needs the system to protect its airspace.
“The Iranian military and armed forces are merely demanding an explanation as to why the Kremlin is refusing to deliver the sophisticated anti-air craft system, which according to unofficial reports, is worth around $800 million,” he said.
Codenamed ‘the SA-20 Gargoyle’ by NATO, the S-300 is a mobile land-based system designed to shoot down aircrafts and cruise missiles.
Russia’s reluctance is said to be linked with strong Israeli opposition to the deal.