Iran this week conducted a series of test launches of domestically-produced medium- and long-range ballistic missiles. Iranian officials said the tests targeted replications of "trans-regional powers."
Iran's more advanced homegrown missiles are capable of hitting most parts of Israel, and it was at first assumed that the Jewish state was the target of the exercise.
But Revolutionary Guards General Amir Ali Hajizadeh revealed that the exercise was intended as a warning to both Israel and American forces in the region. Iran's Fars news agency reported that the dummy target bases were modeled after American bases in the Middle East, while Hajizadeh said the exercise clearly demonstrated that any Israeli military action against Iran's nuclear facilities would result in a catastrophic response.
"If they (Israel) take any action, they will hand us an excuse to wipe them off the face of the earth," Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by Iran's IRNA news agency.
The general added that the target bases were modeled on American bases as a deterrent to US forces getting involved should Israel decided to strike Iran.
It is also worth noting that the missile exercise was dubbed "Great Prophet 7," a clear Islamic religious reference. While Western diplomats insist that ultimately Iran will behave pragmatically and not try to annihilate Israel, those more familiar with the region note that Iran's real rulers, the ayatollahs, make their decisions based primarily on radical religious beliefs and tenets, not pragmatism. They view the destruction of Israel as a religious duty and prophetic necessity.