A top Iranian military authority has warned Europe not to threaten Tehran, else his theocratic nation will not hesitate to increase the strike range of its missiles to cover the European continent. Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy chief of the country's powerful Revolutionary Guards, said it is the "strategic doctrine" of Iran which is keeping the army from extending its missile range, but not its inability.

His warning comes as France has called for a tough dialogue with Iran on its ballistic missile activities — the talks which are separate from the existing nuclear agreement between Tehran and global powers. Iran has long maintained its missile programmes are of only defensive nature and will not be up for any negotiation.

Speaking on Saturday (25 November), Salami said the Revolutionary Guards is open to increasing the strike range of missiles to above 2,000km if it feels necessary. "If we have kept the range of our missiles to 2,000km, it's not due to lack of technology. We are following a strategic doctrine," he said, according to the quasi-official Fars news agency.

"So far we have felt that Europe is not a threat, so we did not increase the range of our missiles. But if Europe wants to turn into a threat, we will increase the range of our missiles," added the senior military general.

Iran's recent ballistic missile activities have been a cause of concern for the western world, particularly the US. The President Donald Trump administration, sternly sceptical of Iran and its role in the Middle East, has repeatedly voiced concerns over Tehran's activities. Trump, in his UN General Assembly speech in September, placed Iran among the "rogue nations" acting as a destabilising force in the region.

Iran's military leaders had earlier said the 2,000km strike range was set by the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who wields the highest authority in Iran. With this attack radius, Iran's missiles could cover Israel and many of the US interests in the region.

Iran military drills
A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location in Iran - File photo Reuters file photo