The ongoing tensions between the United States and Iran have been escalating for some time now, with both sides engaged in a diplomatic and military standoff that threatens to spiral out of control. Now, Iranian mullahs have issued a chilling new threat, saying that they are looking to kill President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo. At the same time, they have announced the deployment of a new advanced long-range cruise missile that is capable of striking targets more than 1,000 miles away.
The new missile, called the Hoveizeh, was unveiled during a ceremony in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Sunday, February 2. According to the country’s Defense Minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, the new weapon has a range of 1,350 kilometers (840 miles) and is capable of carrying different kinds of warheads. He also said that the missile is part of Iran’s ongoing efforts to enhance its defensive capabilities and protect the country’s sovereignty.
The announcement of the new missile came amid rising tensions between the US and Iran, with both sides engaging in a series of tit-for-tat attacks and counterattacks over the last several months. In January, the US assassinated top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Iraq, prompting Iran to launch missile attacks on US military bases in Iraq in retaliation. Since then, the two sides have been engaged in a cycle of threats and counter-threats, with no end in sight.
The announcement of the new missile was accompanied by a chilling threat from Iranian mullahs, who said that they are looking to kill President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo in retaliation for Soleimani’s assassination. During a televised sermon on Friday, January 31, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a senior Iranian cleric, said that the Iranian people want to “chop off the heads” of US leaders.
“We are not like Trump or Pompeo who have to go into hiding when planning to carry out a cowardly assassination,” Khatami said. “We are ready to take on any challenge, and we will not hesitate to strike at them wherever they are.”
Khatami’s comments were echoed by other senior Iranian officials, including Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, a top military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Dehghan said that Iran has a “definite plan” to retaliate against the US for Soleimani’s assassination, but did not elaborate further.
The threats against US leaders are just the latest in a series of provocative statements from Iranian officials, who have repeatedly vowed to take revenge on the US for Soleimani’s death. President Trump, for his part, has warned that any Iranian attack on the US would be met with “very severe consequences.”
The deployment of the new Hoveizeh missile is also likely to raise tensions between the US and Iran, as it represents a significant advance in Iran’s missile technology. The missile is believed to be an Iranian version of the Russian Kh-55 cruise missile, which was first developed in the 1980s. The Kh-55 is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has a range of up to 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles).
Iran has been steadily developing its missile capabilities in recent years, in defiance of international sanctions and pressure from Western powers. The country’s military is believed to have a vast arsenal of missile systems, including short-range ballistic missiles, medium-range ballistic missiles, and anti-ship missiles.
The US, for its part, has been scrambling to counter Iran’s missile threat, with a focus on developing advanced missile defense systems that can shoot down incoming missiles. The US currently operates two missile defense systems, the THAAD and the Patriot, which are designed to intercept incoming missiles at different ranges.
Despite the US’s efforts to deter Iran’s missile capabilities, it remains a major concern for US military planners, who worry that Iran’s missiles could pose a significant threat to US forces in the region. Iran’s missiles could be used to strike US military bases in the Middle East, as well as US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The escalation of tensions between the US and Iran has also raised concerns about the possibility of a wider conflict in the region. The two sides have been engaged in a low-intensity conflict for years, with Iran backing various Shia militias in Iraq and Syria, while the US has supported its Sunni Arab allies in the region.
However, the killing of Soleimani has raised the stakes considerably, and both sides appear to be digging in for a potential showdown. President Trump has warned that any Iranian attack on the US would be met with “disproportionate” force, while Iranian officials have said that they are prepared to take on the US in a “full-scale war.”
The international community has expressed concern about the escalating tensions between the US and Iran, with many countries urging both sides to exercise restraint and engage in dialogue. Russia and China, both of which have close ties to Iran, have called for an end to the US’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, while the European Union has urged Iran to remain committed to the nuclear deal it signed with world powers in 2015.
The situation in the Middle East remains highly volatile, with the possibility of a wider conflict looming large. The deployment of the new Hoveizeh missile and the threats against US leaders are just the latest signs that the US and Iran are on a collision course, with potentially disastrous consequences for the region and the world as a whole.