Iran says could ‘raze Tel Aviv, Haifa’ after Israel claims updating attack plans

Iran has hit back at Israel after the latter said it was updating plans to attack Iranian nuclear sites, with the Iranian defense minister pledging that Tehran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa if the occupying regime commits any mistake.

“Sometimes, their heads bite off more than they can chew and make threats that are clearly out of desperation. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei responded well to the Zionists many years ago. He said that the Zionist regime is not our main enemy and not at the level to be hostile against the Islamic Republic. The Zionist regime knows, and if it does not know, it should know that the Islamic Republic will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground if it commits a mistake,” Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Sunday. 

“The order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces has been carefully enacted and turned into a blueprint, which will be implemented with a single beckon from the Commnad-in-Chief. I advise them not to make this mistake, even verbally.”  

The remarks came after the Israeli minister of military affairs said the regime was updating plans for military strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites in case Tehran continues what he characterized as “nuclear escalation”. 

In an interview with Fox News, Benny Gantz was asked about Iran’s nuclear program and whether Israel was completing preparations to attack Iranian targets.

“We have them (plans) in our hands of course but we will continue constantly improving them,” he said.

“The Iranian nuclear escalation must be stalled. If the world stops them before, it’s very much good. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves.”

Iran has repeatedly enunciated its nuclear program as exclusively civilian, subject to the most intensive UN supervisions ever.

Tehran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 with six world countries, which led to the forging of close cooperation between the Islamic Republic and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), despite intensive Israeli lobbying to torpedo the nuclear agreement.

However, the administration of former US president Donald Trump severely undermined the JCPOA by abandoning it in May 2018 amid numerous IAEA reports on Tehran’s full compliance with the accord.

Israel supported Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal and the “maximum pressure” campaign that the US launched against Iran. 

The new US administration, under President Joe Biden, has expressed a willingness to bring Washington back to the JCPOA. But it is demanding that Iran walk back all its remedial steps which it has taken in response to the US violations and the Europeans’ failure to meet their end of the bargain.

Iran insists the United States has to lift its sanctions before the Islamic Republic considers a reversal.

During his interview, Gantz displayed a map which he claimed indicated the position of rockets, near civilian areas along the Lebanese border, in possession of Hezbollah resistance movement.

“This is a target map. Each one of them has been checked legally, operationally, intelligence-wise and we are ready to fight,” he said.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also said that Tel Aviv would work independently, if necessary, to prevent what he called a nuclear-armed Iran.

“I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and so far, we’ve been successful,” he said, adding he believes Biden “understands… that my commitment to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons is absolute.”

The Israeli officials’ renewed anti-Iran rhetoric comes despite the fact that the occupying regime is believed to be the sole possessor of atomic bombs in the Middle East and estimated to have between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. Tel Aviv has turned a deaf ear to international calls for the regime to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

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