The Iranian armed forces will destroy Tel Aviv if Israel makes any wrong moves against the Islamic Republic, Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, warned on Monday. “If the Zionist regime intends to take any action against Iran, we will raze Tel Aviv to the ground,” the former chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) added. “We will not even give you the opportunity to escape,” Rezaei said about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his speech to IRGC commanders. His remarks were in response to Netanyahu’s speech at the Munich Security Conference, where the Israeli leader accused Iran of sending a military drone to the Israeli territory and warned Tehran not to test Israel’s resolve. “We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself,” Netanyahu said.
Rezaei, a former presidential candidate, said Iran is fortunate that Netanyahu is embroiled in a corruption case at home while President Donald Trump is facing allegations that electoral fraud.
Comment: Netanyahu and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif publically sparred at the Munich conference over the weekend, indicating escalating tension between the two regional rivals. The Israeli leader warned that he is ready to go to war with Iran if it continues to threaten Israeli security from Syria, prompting Zarif to dismiss Netanyahu’s remarks as a “cartoonish circus.”
The verbal feud in Munich came days after direct clashes between the Israeli military and Iranian-led forces in Syria. After an Iranian drone reportedly entered Israeli airspace, the Israeli military responded by air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, losing an F-16 fighter jet to a Syrian surface-to-air missile.
The clashes prompted concerns about the danger of direct conflict between Iran and Israel.
Last week, Major Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, also called for Israel’s destruction, the Iranian media reported. “Avenging the blood of Imad [Mughniyeh, late Hezbollah leader] and people like him who have been martyred in Palestine, Lebanon and Iran under the instructions of the Zionist regime [Israel] is through annihilation of this child-murdering Zionist regime. The enemy understands this is certain to happen,” he said at a gathering in Tehran. He emphasized that just launching missiles at Israel is not sufficient. “This regime will not survive,” he added, referring to Israel. “This regime’s actions demonstrate its lack of durability as we see they’re scared and restless.”
By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project – The Middle East Institute | Feb 20, 2018