The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, has dismissed Israel as a threat to the Islamic Republic, saying Tehran's lack of recognition of the Jewish state renders its warnings as "empty threats."
"We essentially do not see [Israel] as a state, therefore it's not a threat to Iran," London-based news outlet Al-Araby al-Jadeed quoted him as saying in an interview published Monday.
Salehi made the remarks in response to a question about his estimates on the chance of an Israeli-Iranian war in the wake of the nuclear deal reached last year with world powers.
Irrespective of the global deal over the Iranian nuclear program, the Israel Air Force has continued building its long-range capabilities, and maintaining its readiness for any potential future scenario that may develop between Israel and the Islamic Republic.
The effort is overseen by the IAF’s Air Operations, established in the midst of Operation Protective Edge in 2014, as the body responsible for activating and building up Israeli air power.
Air Operations is the recently- established headquarters responsible for how the air force operates, drawing up and carrying out offensive and defensive missions, processing threat alerts, using intelligence to build up strike plans, and many other crucial IAF activities.
Last August, an Iranian official
denied that his government's policy towards Israel has changed and said that the Zionist regime should be annihilated.
"Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan," the Iranian Parliament Speaker's Adviser for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam was quoted as saying by Iran's Fars news agency.
After opening the British Embassy in Tehran, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the Iranian government had displayed a more nuanced approach than its predecessor to a long-running conflict with Israel, adding that Tehran would be judged on its actions, not its words. Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.