Iran threatens to 'turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust' if Israel missteps

"If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust," reads banner on military truck in missile parade.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
September 21, 2016 14:55
4 minute read.
Iran military

Iranian soldiers march during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the start of Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq, on September 21, 2016, in Tehran. (photo credit: CHAVOSH HOMAVANDI / AFP)

 
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In an attempt to tout its military prowess on Wednesday, Iran threatened to "turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust" during a parade of the Islamic Republic's armed forces in Tehran.

Iran marked the anniversary of its 1980 invasion by Iraq by parading its latest ships and missiles and telling the United States not to meddle in the Gulf.

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At a parade in Tehran, shown on state TV, the military displayed a wide array of long-range missiles, tanks, and the Russian-supplied S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system.

In a reference to Iran's arch-foe Israel, a banner on one military truck shown on state TV read,: "If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust."

Iran’s military chief of staff Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri said at the parade that the $38 million, 10-year defense aid package granted to Israel by the United States makes Iran “more determined” to strengthen its military.

“The criminal move [by the United States] to sign an agreement to present a supportive military package to the Zionist regime is a desperate attempt to protect the security vacuum of the regime and makes us more determined to increase our military power,” Baqeri said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.


Iranian soldiers march during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the start of Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq, on September 21, 2016, in Tehran (CHAVOSH HOMAVANDI/AFP)

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At the port of Bandar Abbas on the Gulf, the navy showed off 500 vessels, as well as submarines and helicopters, at a time of high tension with the United States in the strategic waterway.

US officials say there have been more than 30 close encounters between US and Iranian vessels in the Gulf so far this year, over twice as many as in the same period of 2015.

On September 4, a US Navy coastal patrol ship changed course after an Iranian Revolutionary Guard fast-attack craft came within 100 yards (91 meters) of it in the central Gulf, at least the fourth such incident in less than a month, US Defense Department officials said.

"We tell the Americans that it's better that the capital and wealth of the American people should not be wasted on their inappropriate and detrimental presence in the Persian Gulf," said Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iranian soldiers march during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the start of Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq, on September 21, 2016, in Tehran (CHAVOSH HOMAVANDI/AFP)

The Tasnim news site quoted him as saying: "If they want to extend their reach and engage in adventurism they should go to the Bay of Pigs" - a reference to the location of a botched US attempt to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1961.

In Tehran, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, declared that Iran wanted peace.

But he also said Iran's lessons in the 1980-88 war against Iraq now served as a guide for "our brothers in faith" in Syria, "Palestine," Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Bahrain, a checklist of countries where Iran has political, religious or military allies.

The Russian-supplied missile defense system on show in Tehran was deployed last month around Iran's underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordow. Enrichment at the site, around 100 km (60 miles) south of Tehran, has stopped since the implementation in January of Iran's agreement with world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

Iranian soldiers march during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the start of Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq, on September 21, 2016, in Tehran (CHAVOSH HOMAVANDI/AFP)

Also on display was the Qadr H missile, which has a range of 2,000 km, according to state TV. Iran's ballistic missile program has been criticized by the West, and the US Treasury imposed sanctions on two Iranian companies in March because of their alleged ties to it.

The Russian-supplied missile defense system on show in Tehran was deployed last month around Iran's underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordow. Enrichment at the site, around 100 km (60 miles) south of Tehran, has stopped since the implementation in January of Iran's agreement with world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

Also on display was the Qadr H missile, which has a range of 2,000 km, according to state TV. Iran's ballistic missile program has been criticized by the West, and the US Treasury imposed sanctions on two Iranian companies in March because of their alleged ties to it.

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