A senior Iranian military commander has threatened Israel and claimed that his country can destroy the Jewish state “in less than eight minutes”.
The comments, quoted by The Washington Free Beacon, came hours after Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared that Iran would continue to build its ballistic missile arsenal in defiance of U.S. demands.
“If the Supreme Leader’s orders [are] to be executed, with the abilities and the equipment at our disposal, we will raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes,” Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp’s al-Quds Force, was quoted as stating.
In a speech earlier Monday, Khamenei declared that American “cries” over Iran’s ballistic missile program will not alter the regime’s behavior.
“They [the U.S.] have engaged in a lot of hue and cry over Iran’s missile capabilities, but they should know that this ballyhoo does not have any influence and they cannot do a damn thing,” Khamenei said, according to The Free Beacon.
“Jihad still exists,” Khamenei added. “Great Jihad means not abiding by the enemy whom we are fighting; not abiding by enemy in economy, politics, culture and art is the great Jihad.”
Iran in recent months has carried out a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.
After the last such test in March, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted world powers for their inaction, warning it would only embolden the Iranian regime further.
The United States responded to one of the tests by slapping sanctions on Iran, but the Islamic Republic remains defiant and insists that it will continue to develop its ballistic missile program.
The Supreme Leader said in Monday’s remarks that the United States is the source of all hostility in the region.
“The main cause of all such animosities … is opposition to the arrogant powers,” he was quoted as saying by The Free Beacon.
“The nuclear issue and missiles are excuses and of course excuses are useless and they can do no damn thing,” Khamenei said. “The point is Iran doesn’t follow arrogant powers.”
“The U.S. and other powers are extremely sad at this issue and they have no other option; that is why they made huge efforts in order to bring the country’s decision-making and decision-taking centers under their control, but they failed and God willing, they will continue to fail,” he stated.
The remarks by both Khamenei and Karimpour are not the first time that Iranian officials have threatened the United States and Israel. Iranian officials have continuously threatened to wipe Israel off the map, and Khamenei in the past threatened to "annihilate" the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.
In March, the Supreme Leader ruled out his country having ties with the United States or “the Zionist regime” – that is, Israel – claiming he had proof that the United States was planning a coup in Iran.
He has also said that month that missiles, and not negotiations, will be a part of Iran’s future relations with the outside world.