Iranian Supreme Leader: Israel 'Doomed to Collapse'
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that Israel is a "regime doomed to collapse." His threats come as the latest round of talks over Iran's nuclear weapons program is being held in Geneva.
AFP reports that Khamenei told commanders of the Islamist Basij militia force in Tehran: "the Zionist regime (Israel) is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to collapse."
Responding to Israeli concerns over Iran's nuclear weapons program, Khamenei called Israel "the rabid dog of the region" and claimed Israel poses a threat to the world, not Iran. The Basij crowd responded with cries of "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."
Khamenei had insults for Israeli officials as well.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) on Tuesday backed previous statements that Israel could militarily act alone to defend itself from the Iranian nuclear threat.
Perhaps in response, Khamenei said "the title of human is not worthy of the leaders of the Zionist regime," adding that the Iranian response to a military action would be "a slap in the face they will never forget."
Khamenei further said in a live state television broadcast that "any phenomenon that is created by force cannot endure," referring to Israel's numerous defensive wars fought to ensure the country's existence.
This is not the first time Khamenei has made threats or attacks on Israel.
In early November the supreme leader of Iran called Israel an "illegitimate and bastard regime," and further called the US a "smiling enemy" that is not to be trusted.
The statements reveal a deep-seated animosity that raises further doubts about the ongoing talks in Geneva aimed at reaching an agreement over Iran's nuclear program.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been a vocal opponent of the program, noting that proposals risk easing sanctions on Iran and leaving the Islamic regime at "breakout capacity." If that were to happen Iran could turn its reactors back on and produce a nuclear weapon whenever it chooses.
Amid disagreement with US President Barack Obama's administration over the nuclear talks, Netanyahu on Wednesday took off for last minute talks in Russia with President Vladimir Putin to try and explain Israel's concerns.
International sanctions have been crippling Iran through an ongoing diplomatic effort to block the country's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Concerns have been raised that the sanctions may be lifted in the Geneva talks without Iran's program being dismantled.
Regarding the sanctions, recent reports revealed that despite his country's economic suffering, Khamenei controls a business empire worth $95 billion, which is more than Iran's current annual oil exports.