An Iranian official has claimed their missiles only need seven minutes to strike the Israeli city of Tel Aviv while also threatening strikes against US military bases in the region. The threats come after US President Donald Trump put the country "on notice" over its recent ballistic missile tests.
On 3 February Trump imposed sanctions on 26 companies and individuals linked to Iran's recent test-firing of a ballistic missile capable. The next day Iran reportedly held a military exercise to test its missile and radar systems.
Former President Barack Obama had attempted to thaw relations between Iran and the West during his tenure. However, a diplomatic crisis now looms after Mojtaba Zonour, a member of Iran's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and a former adviser to the Iranian Supreme Leader's Representative at the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), threatened the US.
"The US army's fifth fleet has occupied a part of Bahrain, and the enemy's farthest military base is in the Indian Ocean, but these points are all within the range of Iran's missile systems and they will be razed to the ground if the enemy makes a mistake," he said, according to the state-run Fars news agency. "And only seven minutes is needed for the Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv."
Only last week Ali Akbar Velayati, senior counsel to Iran's most powerful man Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in response to a typically brash Tweet from Trump that US threats against Iran are "useless". The US president had said the Islamic republic will be put on notice over "destabilising activity" after it test-fired a ballistic missile.
Iran had stated that they had tested a new ballistic missile but had still not breached a nuclear deal reached in 2015 or a UN Security Council resolution that endorsed the deal. Washington said the test was a medium-range Sumar ballistic missile that exploded after travelling 630 miles (1,010 km).
Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh echoed Zonour's threats. He said: "If the enemy makes a mistake, our roaring missiles will hit their targets. Knowing the capabilities of our armed forces, I assure you that foreign threats cannot do us any harm."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London this week to meet his British counterpart, Theresa May. He has urged a tougher stance on Iran, saying that "responsible nations" should back sanctions against an "aggressive" Iran.