Tehran's military exercises came after US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Israel's PM Naftali Bennett, amid nuclear deal talks.

An explosion is seen behind a soldier during a joint exercise called the 'Great Prophet 17',in the southwest of Iran, in this picture obtained on December 22, 2021.
An explosion is seen behind a soldier during a joint exercise called the 'Great Prophet 17',in the southwest of Iran, in this picture obtained on December 22, 2021. (Reuters)

Iran fired multiple ballistic missiles at the close of five days of military drills that generals said were a warning to arch-enemy Israel.

"These exercises were designed to respond to threats made in recent days by the Zionist regime," armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri told state television on Friday.

"Sixteen missiles aimed and annihilated the chosen target. In this exercise, part of the hundreds of Iranian missiles capable of destroying a country that dared to attack Iran were deployed," he added.

The drills come after US national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, amid the Jewish state's opposition to efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Bennett has accused Iran of "nuclear blackmail" and charged that revenue it gained from sanctions relief would be used to acquire weapons to harm Israelis.

Israeli leaders have also hinted at striking Iran.

Iran says it only wants to develop a civil nuclear programme, but Western powers say its stocks of enriched uranium could be used to develop a nuclear weapon.

READ MORE: Iran nuclear talks to restart in Vienna next week

'Clear breach of UN resolutions'

In a statement issued in London, the British Foreign Office condemned Iran's use of ballistic missiles, saying it was a "threat to regional and international security".

"The launch is a clear breach of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which requires that Iran not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons -– including launches using ballistic missile technology," it quoted a spokesperson as saying.

The Iranian military drills, dubbed Payambar-e-Azadm or "Great Prophet", began Monday in Bushehr, Hormozgan and Khuzestan provinces, each of which touches the Gulf.

"The military exercise... is a serious warning to Zionist regime officials," said Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps chief Major General Hossein Salami.

"Make the slightest mistake, we will cut off their hand."

READ MORE: US ready to lift 'inconsistent' JCPOA sanctions against Iran

Source: AFP