Iran says the security of its citizens is a redline, pledging that it will not let Israel's terrorist acts against Iranians go unanswered.
Government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi made the remarks in an interview with Tasnim news agency after the assassination of a member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran and fresh Israeli threats against the Islamic Republic.
“The essence of the usurping Zionist regime has been and still is clear. The illegitimate establishment of this regime is based on terrorism, oppression and violation of rights, and its survival is based on this terrorist nature,” Jahromi said.
“The Islamic Republic’s red line is the security of its citizens and in order to maintain security and safeguard the security of the public, it will take whatever retaliatory measure which is needed as countermeasure against any external act" by Israel, he added.
The spokesman said Iran's position regarding Israel is obvious which, he said, will never change. He called on international organizations to adopt a clear stance on "this illegitimate entity" and take vivid action against its illegal and terrorist acts.
Tehran-based Kayhan International touched on the call, saying "the Islamic Republic very well knows that these bodies and the US and West European regimes that control them will never take any measure in this regard".
"It was only a courtesy call by Tehran in line with its commitment to diplomacy and international norms. In other words, Iran reserves the right to retaliate with terrible vengeance if Israel were to cross any redline," the English-language newspaper said.
Last week, the commander of the Iranian army’s ground force warned Israel that any mistake against Iran could result in Tel Aviv and Haifa being leveled.
“For any mistake made by the enemy, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground by the order of the Supreme Leader,” General Kiumars Heydari said.
Last month, Iranian Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was shot five times in his car by two unidentified gunmen on motorbikes in the middle of Tehran.
Israel, which has not officially commented on the incident, reportedly raised the security alert level at its embassies and consulates around the world, fearing a retaliatory Iranian attack.
An unnamed intelligence official told the New York Times that Israel told US officials it was behind the assassination.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Monday that any “response” by the Islamic Republic to terrorist acts would take place inside Israel, a day after anti-Iran reports claimed that Tehran sought to target Israelis in Turkey.
“If we want to respond to Israel’s activities, our answer will be given in its place and not in a third country,” Khatibzadeh told reporters.
According to Sunday’s reports in Hebrew media outlets, Israeli officials tipped off their Turkish counterparts about the alleged plan and asked that they take action to thwart possible attacks.