Iran’s army chief warned Monday that his country would immediately lay waste to Israel’s commercial capital of Tel Aviv should Israeli leaders make any mistakes.
The threat came just a day before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to take the stage to deliver a U.N. General Assembly speech widely believed to center on Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East. Israel’s traditionally dismal relationships with other countries in the majority-Muslim region have shifted, with some Gulf Arab states reportedly moving away from a decades-long boycott established after Israel’s founding in 1948 and the subsequent expulsion and exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
Iran’s Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, however, expressed Tehran’s staunch opposition to Israel, which has joined the U.S. and Gulf Arab states in lobbying the international community to contain Iran’s expanding sphere of influence with increasing urgency. Mousavi warned that Israel would likely not exist in 25 years if it remains on its current geopolitical path.
“We today, with the help of the great Lord, full of self-confidence and power, are ready to defend the ideals and values of the Islamic Revolution everywhere and at any level,” Mousavi said, according to the Iranian Students News Agency.
Iran and Israel have accused each other of destabilizing the region in pursuit of their respective, conflicting goals. While former President Barack Obama sought to engage Iran in direct talks, resulting in the landmark 2015 nuclear treaty known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, President Donald Trump has partnered with Israel and Saudi Arabia in trying to isolate Iran diplomatically. All three have expressed deep criticism about Obama’s deal.
The agreement, which was applauded by most other leading powers, unfroze billions of dollars’ worth of Tehran’s assets in exchange for extensive restrictions on Iranian nuclear production. Iran has repeatedly been found to be in full compliance with the deal by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the State Department, but Trump has still sought to undermine the treaty, which he and his supporters have said was too soft on Iran.
SOURCE: TOM O’CONNOR