A leading Iranian cleric has threatened to "raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground" if Israel attacks the country over its nuclear program.

Speaking in a televised public sermon in the capital Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Movahedi-Kermani boasted that "the Sejjil ballistic missile can hit and raise to the ground any place in Israel, as well as any America base in the region."

His comments were translated from Iranian Channel 1 by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Kermani, who serves as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's official representative to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards, claimed that "none of Israel's atomic or missile centers are safe" from Iran's "powerful, fast and awe-inspiring missiles."

"Even the Iron Dome cannot protect Israel from these missiles," he claimed.

He is, of course, correct; the Iron Dome missile defense system is made to intercept short- and medium-range missiles of the type used by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. Israel's Arrow and David's Sling systems, on the other hand, are designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles such as the Sejjil.

Despite the aggressive rhetoric, Kermani insisted that "all our (military) means are intended for defense... defense is the right of every country, and even of every person.

"However, if Israel goes crazy one day and considers attacking Iran... we will, as our supreme leader said, raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground."

Turning to ongoing nuclear negotiations with western powers just over a week before a November 24 deadline for a deal, Kermani said that Iran's military capabilities meant that it was "idiotic to use threats against a country as powerful as Iran," and that "the other side has no choice" but to negotiate.

That said, he declared that "Iran will not go back even one step from the R&D and the enrichment of uranium, and will not relinquish its full right to nuclear energy."

Kermani also addressed recent reports that US President Barack Obama had sent secret letters to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

"Instead of sending letters Obama should show some goodwill," he fired, accusing the US President of being insincere in his overtures. 

Noting reports of cooperation between Washington and Tehran in dealing with the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq, he added: "The US knows that even in its war against ISIS it cannot ignore the power of Iran."

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