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Iran's war games in Gulf were warning to Israel, say top Iranian commanders

UNSPECIFIED, IRAN. - JANUARY 15: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT - "SEPAHNEWS/ HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps conduct a military drill with ballistic missiles and unmanned air vehicles at Great Salt Desert, in the middle of the Iranian Plateau, on January 15, 2021 in Iran. ( Sepahnews/Handout - Anadolu Agency )
Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps conduct a military drill with ballistic missiles and unmanned air vehicles at Great Salt Desert, in the middle of the Iranian Plateau, on January 15, 2021 in Iran. [Sepahnews/Handout - Anadolu Agency]

War games conducted this week by Iran in the Gulf were intended to send a warning to Israel, the country's top military commanders said on Friday, amid concerns over possible Israeli plans to target Iranian nuclear sites, Reuters reported.

The Revolutionary Guards' war games, which included firing ballistic and cruise missiles, ended on Friday.

"These exercises had a very clear message: a serious, real … warning to threats by the Zionist regime's authorities to beware of their mistakes," Guards chief General Hossein Salami said on state TV.

"We will cut off their hands if they make a wrong move… The distance between actual operations and military exercises is only a change in the angles of launching the missiles," Salami added.

READ: Iran announces development of an anti-missile system

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri said 16 ballistic missiles of different classes had been fired simultaneously and had destroyed predetermined targets.

Britain condemned the launch of ballistic missiles during the war games.

"These actions are a threat to regional and international security, and we call on Iran to immediately cease its activities," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Iran says its ballistic missiles have a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles) and are capable of reaching arch-foe Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

Israel, which opposes efforts by world powers to revive Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal, has long threatened military action if diplomacy fails. Iran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has called on world powers not to allow Iran to play for time at the nuclear negotiations, in recess at Iran's request and scheduled to resume next Monday.

Israel is widely believed to be the only Middle Eastern country with a nuclear arsenal.

READ: Russia hopeful Iran nuclear deal will be restored, says Foreign minister

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