Not only was last Friday "Death to Israel Day" in Iran, and a third deadline for Iran nuclear talks that like its predecessors was ignored – ironically it also was the launch date for an Iranian cellphone game that has players in the Islamic state practice raining potentially nuclear-tipped missiles on Israel.
The semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Saturday that the launch of the game – entitled "Missile Strike" – was specifically timed to coincide with "Death to Israel Day," officially known as Quds Day or Jerusalem Day, during which millions of Iranians protested in a call to destroy the Jewish state.
In the game, users launch Iranian missile attacks against the Israeli port city of Haifa, the third largest city in Israel which is home to just under 300,000 people, and which ironically has an extremely large Arab population.
Mehdi Atash Jaam, project manager of the game's production, told Fars on Saturday that "the anti-Zionist game displays Iran's missile power and the Zelzal, Zolfaqar and Sejjil missiles (all Iranian domestic missiles – ed.) are used by the players in the game's first stage."
"In this game, users break into the Zionist regime's air defense and target Israel," Atash Jaam said.
The project manager said that game threatening Israel with destruction was made in "retaliation for the console game, 'Battlefield,' that includes scenes simulating attacks on Tehran and its Milad Tower."
The reference apparently is to a multiplayer map in the massively popular video game Battlefield 3 – the game was not made by Israel, but rather by EA's Swedish subsidiary developer DICE.
For Quds Day millions took to the streets in Tehran and cities around Iran, chanting "Death to Israel" as well as "Death to America," and burning the flags of both countries, in an annual custom first instituted on August 7, 1979 by then-Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini just after the Islamic Revolution.
But despite the open calls for destruction – and now the game simulating a missile attack on Israel – world powers led by the US continue to extend talks with Iran on its nuclear program, in negotiations to reach a deal that critics warn will pave the Shi'ite nation's path to a nuclear arsenal just as a similar deal with North Korea did in the 1990s.