Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks at the Cybertech 2019 conference in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commander celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution on Monday by threatening to raze Tel Aviv and Haifa. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took note and responded: try it, and it will be the last Revolution Day the Iranians will ever celebrate.
“I do not ignore the Iranian regime’s threats, but I’m not impressed by them either,” Netanyahu said in a taped statement. “If this regime makes the terrible mistake and tries to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, it will not succeed, but it will be the last Revolution Day that they will celebrate. They should take this into account.”
Netanyahu’s comments came in response to a threat made by Yadollah Javani, the Guard’s deputy head for political affairs, who said at a rally celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that the US “does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military assets.”
But if the US does attack, he warned
, “We will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned US flags to mark the revolution’s 40th anniversary on Monday as Tehran showed off ballistic missiles in defiance of US efforts to curb its military power.
Soldiers, students, clerics and black-clad women holding small children thronged streets across Iran, many with portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi’ite cleric who toppled the Shah in an Islamic uprising.
On February 11, 1979, Iran’s army declared its neutrality, paving the way for the fall of US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
State TV showed crowds defying cold, rainy weather and carrying Iranian flags while shouting “Death to Israel, Death to America,” trademark chants of the revolution.
Ballistic missile capabilities were on show during the main march, including the Qadr F, a ground-to-ground missile with a range of 1,950 km., according to Tasnim news agency
“We have not asked and will not ask for permission to develop different types of... missiles, and will continue our path and our military power,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech at Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square.US National Security Adviser John Bolton
, who in 2017 expressed hope that Iran’s “revolution will not reach its 40th birthday,” tweeted that after four decades, the “Islamic Republic of Iran has failed to fulfill its promises to uphold and safeguard the rights of its citizens.”
The large turnout in state-sponsored rallies, in which US and Israeli flags were burned, came as Iranians face mounting economic hardships, which many blame on the country’s clerical leaders.
Pictures on social media showed some people also demonstrating against corruption, unemployment and high prices.