Iran news: What do we know about Iran’s military – does Tehran have nuclear weapons?

The latest conflict began when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the US not to “play with lion’s tail” and that “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars”.

US President Donald Trump responded with a tweet, which warned Iran of “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before”. 

Qassem Suleimani, the most senior official to weigh in on the conflict between the two countries, likened Mr Trump to a “cabaret owner” in his vitriolic speech. 

Mr Suleimani, who is in charge of the external arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – the Quds force – made the comments during a speech in the western city of Hamedan on Thursday.

He said: “I’m telling you, Mr Trump the gambler, I am telling you: know that where you are not thinking of, we are near you. Places you cannot imagine, we are next to you.

“The Red Sea which was secure is no longer secure for the presence of American military. The Quds force and I are your match. We don’t go to sleep at night before thinking about you.

“It is not in our president’s dignity to respond to you, but I, as a soldier, will.”

He added: “Your language belongs to cabarets. Only a cabaret owner uses such language to communicate with the world.”

The row has escalated the increasingly hostile rhetoric between the countries.

In May Mr Trump announced the US would pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, despite massive global opposition. 

Mr Trump has been criticised for potentially triggering a crisis by exiting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 

The deal, intended to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons, was criticised by My Trump as being a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever have been made.”

Does Tehran have nuclear weapons?

Before the deal was signed, Iran had a uranium stockpile which was large enough to create eight to ten nuclear bombs. 

The JCPOA allowed sanctions on Iran to be lifted in return for Iranian confirmation that stockpiles will be depleted by 98 percent. 

In April, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, a Trump ally, claimed to have irrefutable proof that Iran had been violating the deal and hiding its stockpile. 

During his televised address, Mr Netanyahu showed a video which he claimed showed an Iranian nuclear facility. 

The speech came after a report by the Foundation for Defence of Democracies (FfDD) was leaked in January claiming Iran fired around 23 missiles since it had signed the deal.

Mr Trump announced the US would withdraw from the deal in May and at the time added that America would impose “the highest level of economic sanction” against Iran.

Mr Rouhani responded by announcing he had ordered the country’s “atomic industry organisation” to be prepared to “start our industrial enrichment without limitations.”

In June, Iran announced it would begin to increase its uranium enrichment capacity, but still within the JCPOA limitations as European diplomats tried to salvage the deal. 

Under the JCPOA, Iran can enrich uranium to only 3.67 percent.

If it chooses to abandon the deal it could return to enrichment of 20 percent – still within the limits of civilian use but allowing for a much quicker jump to military-grade levels of bout 90 percent.