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Stark Warning

In a clear warning to Israel, two senior Iranian generals have announced that the recent military exercise staged by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) was intended to respond to brazen Israeli threats against Iran.

In remarks made at the final phase of the drill, code-named the Great Prophet 17 (Payambare Azam 17), Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri and IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami made it clear on Friday that whom the drill was meant to deter: Israel. 

Underlining that the missile part of the drill is carrying “very clear and obvious messages,” General Salami said, “The message of this drill is a serious, real, and field warning to threats by the Zionist regime’s officials that they should take care not to make mistakes and faults and if they make mistakes, we will cut off their hands.”

The IRGC Commander-in-Chief said that the difference between the actual operation and the IRGC’s missile drill was only in changing the angles of launching the missile. “Therefore, enemies must watch their words,” the general said. 

General Bagheri further amplified the warning by hinting that Iran expedited the timing of the drill due to Israel’s bluster against Iran. “This exercise was planned in advance, but the many yet empty threats by the leaders of the Zionist regime [Israel] caused this exercise to take place at this time, and thank God, it was one of the most successful missile exercises of the Islamic Republic of Iran so far,” he said. 

General Bagheri stressed that such threats are unacceptable to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Great Prophet 17 drill began along the southern coastlines of the country on Monday last week with the participation of various forces of the IRGC such as the aerospace force and the cyber-electronic division.

The drill featured real-time firing of smart bombs, ballistic and cruise missiles targeting fixed and mobile targets. In addition, combat drones dropped bombs with pinpoint accuracy and Su-22 warplanes bombarded mock enemy targets in close air support (CAS) operation. 

The IRGC’s Ground Force also put a new upgraded combat tank dubbed Karrar into service on the third day of the war game. The Karrar tank was operationalized during the exercise.  It is an upgraded version of the T-72m tanks that come into service for the first time.

On the last day of the drill, the IRGC simultaneously launched 16 ballistic missiles of various types that hit a mock sensitive target with 100-percent precision. Perhaps, this was the most remarkable part of the drill as Iran’s state-run TV showed the missiles roaring up into the sky and then raining down on a mock target very much resembling Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant which is thought to harbor Israeli nukes. The target was totally razed to the ground after it was hit with the missiles, possibly creating a scene of how the real Dimona would look like in case there was an Israeli attack against Iran.

Israeli officials have unleashed a campaign of military threats against Iran in recent weeks. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said that he ordered the Israeli army to prepare for a military attack on Iran. Other Israeli intelligence, political and military officials have echoed the same threat. An Iranian security official has told Nour News, a media outlet close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, that relative progress made in the Vienna talks could reinforce Israel’s motivation to make “malicious moves.”

Many believe that Israeli threats against Iran are primarily meant to force Iran into making more concessions in Vienna. In reality, observers say, Israel is unable and incapable of mounting an effective military strike to take out Iran’s sparse and heavily-fortified nuclear plants. 

Iran’s latest military drill showed what Israel would face if it dared to attack Iran. The drill also was indicative of the gravity of the situation. Iran has said Israel won’t dare to attack. But at the same time, Iranian military leaders highlighted their combat readiness to respond to any hostile move by Israel. 

First published in Tehran Times 

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