Iran said on Thursday it test-launched a ballistic missile that has a 2,000-km range, escalating concerns in the US and Iran over Tehran's nuclear operations.
Interestingly, the test launch was announced a day after a top Israeli official said Tel Aviv would consider launching an attack inside Iran targeting its nuclear sites if Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons.
Though Iran has not acknowledged it is pursuing nuclear weapons, it has reiterated that it has missiles that have the capability of striking inside Israel.
On Tuesday,Israel's Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said Israel will be left with no choice other than pre-emptively attacking Iran's nuclear sites.
"Our message to Iran's enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements. Our message to our friends is that we want to help regional stability," Iranian Defence Minister Mohammadreza Ashtiani said, according to Reuters.
Iran's state-backed television channel also broadcast the footage of what it says was the missile launch. Iran said the projectile launched was an new version of Khoramshahr 4 ballistic missile, which has a range of 2,000 km. The missile is also able to carry a 1,500-kg warhead.
"The domestically build Kheibar missile's outstanding features include quick preparation and launch time, which makes it a tactical weapon in addition to a strategic one," state news agency IRNA said.
Iran does not accept Israel and has said it seeks the destruction of the Jewish state. "Iran has progressed in recent years with enriching uranium more than ever before ... We are looking closely at the various arenas that are part of the path to nuclear capabilities. There are negative potential trends on the horizon that could lead to [us] acting. We have the capabilities," said Gen. Herzi Halevi.