'We will act' if Iran breaks nuclear deal, pledges Biden as missiles launched
Published 09/03/2016 | 08:51
US vice-president Joe Biden has pledged that "we will act" if Iran breaks the terms of a nuclear deal after Tehran announced it had test-fired two ballistic missiles.
Mr Biden spoke alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem following the launch of missiles which had "Israel must be wiped out" written in Hebrew on them.
The US state department said it plans to bring a report on another missile launch before the United Nations Security Council.
Israel strongly opposed last year's nuclear deal with Iran. Mr Biden looked to assuage its fears by saying "a nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, to the region and the United States". He then reiterated: "If in fact they break the deal, we will act."
Phrases such as "Israel must be wiped out" have been emblazoned on missiles fired before by Iran, but the latest test comes after it signed the nuclear deal with world powers, including America.
Hardliners in Iran's military have fired rockets and missiles despite US objections since the deal, as well as shown underground missile bases on state television.
The semi-official Fars news agency offered pictures on Wednesday which it said were of the Qadr H missiles being fired. It said they were fired in Iran's eastern Alborz mountain range to hit a target some 870 miles away off Iran's coast into the Sea of Oman. The US Navy's 5th Fleet patrols that region.
Fars quoted Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division, saying the test was aimed at showing Israel that Iran could hit it.
"The 2,000-kilometre (1,240-mile) range of our missiles is to confront the Zionist regime," Mr Hajizadeh said. "Israel is surrounded by Islamic countries and it will not last long in a war. It will collapse even before being hit by these missiles."
Iran has threatened to destroy Israel in the past. Israel, which is believed to have the only nuclear weapons arsenal in the Middle East, repeatedly has threatened to take military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.