Breaking News

TODAY'S TOP STORIES

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Iran 'more determined' to strengthen military

Iran's chief of staff of the armed forces said on Wednesday that the $38 billion aid dealbetween the United States and Israel makes Iran more determined to strengthen its military, The Associated Press reported.

In comments broadcast live on Iranian state TV and quoted by AP, Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri said the U.S.-Israel aid deal "will make us more determined in strengthening the defense power of the country."

Iran regularly boasts of its military capabilities. Last May it test fired a long-range ballistic missile which it claimed can reach Israel.

In February, in open defiance of American sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan announced the country would be rolling out an upgrade of its nuclear-capable medium-range Emad missiles.

The Emad is said to have a 1,700 kilometer range, putting Israel and much of eastern Europe squarely in its sights.

On Wednesday, during a separate parade in the southern Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, Iran unveiled a new missile known as Zolfaghar, according to AP.

It was carried by military truck which bore a banner printed with a 2013 anti-Israeli quote by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying that Iran will annihilate the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa should Israel attack Iran.

The semi-official news agency Tasnim said the missile is a "long range ballistic" with a cluster warhead. It did not provide further details.

Khamenei often launches verbal attacks against Iran’s “enemies”, mostly against the United States, to which he refers as “the Great Satan”, and Israel.

In the past, he has ruled out his country having ties with the United States or “the Zionist regime” – that is, Israel – claiming he had proof that the United States was planning a coup in Iran.

Khamenei has also referred to Israel as a “cancerous tumor” and also predicted several months ago that the Jewish state will not exist in 25 years.