The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps on Wednesday displayed an apparent ballistic missile with the words “Death to Israel” emblazoned in Hebrew down the side, at an exhibition in the central city of Isfahan.
Pictures posted by the Tasnim news agency show what appears to be a surface-to-surface missile in a launcher with elaborate Hebrew script running down its side.
It was not clear if it was an actual missile or a mockup.
The display comes days after a significant drone attack on a key Iranian defense facility in the same city. The site hit in the strike was reportedly a weapons production facility for Iran’s killer Shahed-136 drones.
The attack was one of a number widely attributed to Israel, which has a policy of not commenting on such operations.
Iran officially blamed Israel for the strike, filing a complaint with the United Nations Security Council about the “terrorist attack” launched by the Jewish state and saying it reserves its “legitimate and inherent right” to retaliate.
Following the publication of the pictures of the missile, a senior Foreign Ministry official told the Ynet news site that “the message is very clear — if anyone had any doubts.”
— Tasnim News Agency (@Tasnimnews_EN) February 8, 2023
Iran has repeatedly vowed to “wipe Israel off the map” and Israel considers Tehran’s nuclear program an existential threat.
While Iranian nuclear weapons are Israel’s main concern, Jerusalem has also said that its ballistic weapons program also poses a major danger and has pushed the international community to include restrictions on the program in any future nuclear accord.
The IRGC display also featured several Iranian missiles, drones and warheads, and was open to the public.
It also comes a day after Iran unveiled what it said was its first underground air force base, with the head of the Islamic Republic’s military saying the site would be among those used to launch a response to any potential strikes by Israel or others.
“Any attack on Iran from our enemies, including Israel, will see a response from our many air force bases including Eagle 44,” Iran’s armed forces’ Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri told IRNA, according to the Reuters news agency.
IRNA said the Eagle 44 site was one of Iran’s most important military facilities and would be home to fighter jets equipped with long-range cruise missiles.
The location of the base was not disclosed as part of attempts by Iran to put key military and nuclear facilities out of the way of potential strikes.
Israel is suspected of launching a series of attacks on Iran, including an assault on its underground Natanz nuclear facility that damaged its centrifuges.
Last year Iran’s army unveiled details about an underground base in the Zagros mountain range, where it said some 100 drones were stored. Iran has also shown off similar tunnels in the past, which serve as storage areas for missiles and drones.