Iran to Test-fire Long-range Missiles in Desert War Game

Revolutionary Guards chief announces start of three-day maneuver, warns that if Israel plans any attack on Iran, it 'will provide us a reason to remove Israel from the earth.'

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards are planning war games this week, including drills with surface-to-surface missiles aimed at models of foreign bases, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.

It said the maneuvers would begin Monday in Iran's central desert and last three days.

The report quoted Gen. Ami Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the airspace unit of the Guards. He said the message of the maneuvers to "adventurist" nations in the region and the West is that "Iran will respond to any possible evil" in a "strong and crushing" way.

He said the maneuvers are also aimed at assessing the accuracy and effectiveness of warheads and systems.

The announcement coincides with the beginning of a European Union oil embargo meant to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. The West suspects Iran wants to build nuclear weapons, and Israel has hinted at an attack if diplomatic efforts and sanctions fail to eliminate the threat.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, like power generation and cancer treatment.

Gen. Hajizadeh threatened that if Israel plans any attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, "They will provide us a reason to remove Israel from the earth."

He said Israel is not capable of attacking Iran "since it was defeated by Hezbollah" in 2006, a reference to a month long war between Israel and the Iran-backed Lebanese group.

Iran has already tested a Shahab-3 missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) that can reach Israel and southern Europe.

Gen. Hajizadeh also said Iran has produced an anti-radar missile called "Arm" that can hit any source of radar. He said the weapon could "damage" missile shields in Turkey and Gulf countries.

Shahin missile, Iran - AP 9.03.2011