A senior adviser to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.)’s secretive Quds Force has that Iran will annihilate the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel shows any aggression. “When Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] says we will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust within seven minutes if needed, it is no joke. All our cities are ready for such operations. The Zionist regime and its allies should recognize this,” Brigadier General Ahmad Karimpour said at a ceremony to commemorate Iranian “martyrs” on Wednesday night. He further claimed that the Iranian military has identified and can destroy all key Israeli targets in less than eight minutes by its Sijil and Shahab-3 ballistic missiles.
Karimpour also dismissed the possibility of a U.S. military attack against Iran: “The enemy repeatedly shouts that the military option is on the table. But why doesn’t it act? Why doesn’t it put its military option into action? How long do you want to keep it on the table?”
Comment: Karimpour’s remarks were first published by Iran’s Fars News Agency, an outlet affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). But the outlet has now omitted the most provocative parts of his speech although a Google search still shows the original report on the site. This may be an attempt by the I.R.G.C.-affiliated media to temporarily tone down Iranian leaders’ provocative rhetoric at a time when tension between Washington and Tehran over the latter’s missile program and support for terrorism has intensified.
But it is not the first time that Iranian leaders have threatened to annihilate the state of Israel. Iran’s military chief of staff Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri issued a to Israel last year. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently claimed “,” and last month said Israel was a “tumor” that has no right to exist. And when the Iranian military test-fired ballistic missiles in September 2016, one missile had a message written on in Hebrew: “.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s repeated claims that Iran builds advanced missiles only for defensive purposes will therefore provide no assurances to the United States and its regional allies when Iranian military leaders continue to threaten Israel with military attacks and support terrorist and sectarian groups in regional conflicts.