Israel and Iran traded threats of mutual destruction on Monday as the Islamic Republic celebrated the 40th anniversary of its revolution.
A commander from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) threatened to destroy the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if the United States attacks Iran, state news agency IRNA reported, provoking a strongly worded response from Israel.
“The US should know that we would raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground in the event of a military attack on us,” General Yadollah Javani, head of the guard’s political bureau, was quoted as saying.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to respond saying later on Monday it would mark Iran’s last revolution anniversary if it attacked any cities in Israel.
“I don’t ignore the threats from the Iranian regime, but I’m also not intimidated by them,” Netanyahu said in a Hebrew-language video.
“If this regime makes the terrible mistake and tries to destroy Tel Aviv or Haifa, it won’t be successful and it will be the last anniversary of their revolution they will ever celebrate.”
Iran marks 40th anniversary of Islamic revolution
‘Death to America’
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned US flags to mark the revolution as Tehran showed off ballistic missiles in defiance of US efforts to curb its military power.
State television showed crowds defying cold rainy weather and carrying Iranian flags while shouting “Death to Israel, Death to America” – trademark chants of the revolution.
Iran’s Islamic revolution four decades ago has been a complete failure for the country, US President Donald Trump said Monday.
“40 years of corruption. 40 years of repression. 40 years of terror. The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure. The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future,” Trump posted on Twitter in both English and Farsi.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran are high after the US withdrew from an international nuclear deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and re-imposed sanctions that have hurt the Iranian economy.