Iran’s most powerful authority, Ayatollah Ali Khemenei, said the Islamic Republic would raze the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa “to the ground” if Israel launched a military strike against it.
“At times the officials of the Zionist regime [Israel] threaten to launch a military invasion, but they themselves know that if they make the slightest mistake the Islamic Republic will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” Ayotollah Ali Khamenei said during an address on live state television.
Obama said Thursday time is running out for a diplomatic solution.
“Iran must know that time is not unlimited. I have made the position of the United States clear: Iran must not get a nuclear weapon,” he said.
He also said that the US will always protect Israel.
“Israel will never be destroyed as long as the United States exists. You are not alone,” he said.
Israel has threatened military action against Iran unless it abandons its nuclear activates which the West fears are aimed at building an atomic bomb. Tehran denies the allegations and says its nuclear industry is for peaceful purposes only.
Khamenei also said that he is not optimistic but “not opposed” to direct nuclear talks with US.
“I am not optimistic about these talks. Why? Because our past experiences show that talks for American officials does not mean for us to sit down and reach a logical solution… What they mean by talks is that we sit down and talk until Iran accepts their viewpoint,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on the live TV address.
US President Barack Obama is currently on a visit to Israel where he noted that Israeli President Netanyahu was “absolutely correct” in his belief that any Israeli strike on Iran would be a measure of self-defense.
Obama added that American and Israeli intelligence are at roughly the same place on how far Iran may be from developing a bomb, but said that “there is still time to resolve this diplomatically. The question is, will the Iranian leadership seize this opportunity?” he said.
Jeffrey Laurenti, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation on International Affairs, told RT that Israel is unlikely to go it alone on an Iranian strike without US backing.
“The reality is that Israel cannot dare to act on an attack against Iran and be confident of having the United States to protect it from retaliation, unless it has made the case why such an attack is desperate and a last resort. And that he has not been able to do with the Obama administration,” he said.