Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned on Tuesday that any military action by Israel against Iran would result in the “destruction” of the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Raisi made the statement during a ceremony broadcast live on state television to mark Iran’s annual Army Day.
“The enemies, especially the Zionist regime, have understood that the smallest action against (Iran) will prompt a harsh response from the armed forces that will lead to the destruction of Haifa and Tel Aviv,” he said.
Iran has on several occasions accused Israel of carrying out attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities and scientists.
Israel accuses Iran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies. Israel has repeatedly warned that it would take military action if diplomatic efforts fail to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
On Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen urged China to use its “influence” on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, stressing that Israel will take all necessary measures to prevent the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear-armed state.
Efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, of which China is a party, have stalled since last year. The deal offered Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for strict but temporary curbs on its nuclear program.
The agreement unraveled after the US withdrew from it under former President Donald Trump in 2018.
During the Army Day ceremony, Raisi also called on US troops to leave the Middle East.
“The message of our army and armed forces to foreign forces, especially US forces, is to leave the region as soon as possible, as the presence of foreign forces does not help the security of the region.”