Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said yesterday on American TV news that Israel is currently updating its plans to strike Iran’s nuclear program and is prepared to act independently if the United States is not willing.
Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami promptly fired back with a counterthreat on Sunday. He said Iran’s military will level Tel Aviv and Haifa should Israel do anything “out of desperation.”
Russia’s Ambassador to Israel previously made know the Russian position on the issue when he said Israel, Not Iran, is the problem in the Middle East.”
Russian ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov criticized the State of Israel, calling the Jewish State one of the central problems in the Middle East. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Viktorov said that “the problem in the Middle East is not Iranian activities” but Israel’s “noncompliance” with international resolutions on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Over the weekend, Israel Defense Minister Gantz said spelled out to the American TV correspondent that “If the world stops them [Iran] before, it’s much the better. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves.”
“The Iranian nuclear aspiration must be stopped… We must defend ourselves by ourselves,” Gantz asserted.
The Iranians did not hesitate to make clear their position:
“Sometimes, the Zionist regime [Israel] out of desperation makes big claims against the Islamic Republic of Iran to allegedly threaten it,” Hatami said as cited in The Times of Israel via Iranian state media.
“It must know that if it does a damn thing, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” he followed up with according to an English translation. Hatami was addressing a military ceremony.
He further assured that Iran possesses all the power it needs to “maintain the stability of the country” and said the Islamic Republic can strike close to Israel also via “resistance groups” - which is no doubt a reference to Lebanese Hezbollah and militia groups that have been fighting in Syria.
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