D ubai: Iran announced missile tests on Sunday and threatened to wipe Israel “off the face of the earth” if the Jewish state attacked it.

Iran took this stance in response to the European sanctions which came into effect on Sunday.

The European sanctions include a ban on import of Iranian oil by European Union (EU) states and other sanctions which make it difficult for countries to trade with Iran. These sanctions were imposed earlier this year but they came into effect yesterday.

They aim to target Iran’s economy which is already witnessing the adverse impact of these sanctions and they also aim to curb the nuclear work that Western countries claim is to produce an atomic weapon.

Israel says it could attack Iran if diplomacy fails to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear aims. The United States also says military force is on the table as a last resort, but U.S. officials have repeatedly encouraged the Israelis to be patient while new sanctions take effect.

Announcing three days of missile tests in the coming week, Revolutionary Guards General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the exercises should be seen as a message “that the Islamic Republic of Iran is resolute in standing up to … bullying, and will respond to any possible evil decisively and strongly.”

Any attack on Iran by Israel would be answered resolutely: “If they take any action, they will hand us an excuse to wipe them off the face of the earth,” said Hajizadeh, head of the Guards’ airborne division, according to state news agency IRNA.

Western world is convinced that these sanctions provide a peaceful way forward.

“They signal our clear determination to intensify the peaceful diplomatic pressure,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.

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