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

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami

Iran's defense minister says Tehran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel commits any mistake after the Israeli minister of military affairs said the regime was updating plans for a possible attack on Iranian nuclear sites.

“Sometimes, the Zionist regime bites off more than it can chew and makes threats that are clearly out of desperation,” Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Sunday. 

"Leader of the Islamic Revolution and the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei], in the years which they were making such threats, said once that 'the Zionist regime is not our main enemy and they know and if they don't, they should know that the Islamic Republic will level Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground if they do something wrong'. 

"These statements of the Eminent Leader have become an action plan which will be executed with a single gesture," Hatami said. 

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.”

"I advise and emphasize with them that they should not make such mistakes, even verbally," Hatami said Sunday. 

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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