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Iran threatens to attack, destroy two major Israeli cities

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
April 19, 2023

On Israel's National Holocaust Remembrance Day, Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi issued a threat that Iranian forces would destroy the cities of Haifa and Tel Aviv if Israel makes even the smallest provocation against Iran.

Raisi's warning came out in a speech on Tuesday during Iran's National Army Day parade, which also took place on the same day as Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, according to NewsMax.

Raisi accuses Israel of being an enemy of Iran on Israel's National Holocaust Remembrance Day

"The enemies of Iran, specifically the Zionist regime, have gotten the message that the smallest hostile move will draw a severe response from the Iranian Armed Forces and will lead to the destruction of Haifa and Tel Aviv," Raisi said, according to the Jewish Press.

Haifa and Tel Aviv are Israel's two largest population centers.

Raisi also repeated his demand for the U.S. to get out of the Middle East, which has had a presence there since the Carter administration. United States forces are generally seen as a protective force in the Persian Gulf, ensuring the safety of global energy supplies, according to The Times of Israel.

About 20 percent of the global oil supply is transported through the Strait of Hormuz, which is a narrow passage in the Persian Gulf.

However, in his speech, Raisi accused the U.S. of being a hindrance to Iran's interests, claiming that, "The presence of foreign forces threatens the security of the region," and that, "the sooner they leave, the better it will be for the people of the region," according to Iran International.

Raisi hints at interest to continue efforts for building alliance with Saudi Arabia during Iran's National Army Day

Raisi also extended an implied interest in continuing to restore diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and reopen embassies, an effort that began back in March and was hosted by China, according to The Times of Israel.

Iran's Army Day is a celebration of Iran's regular army, as opposed to its Revolutionary Guard. Its Revolutionary Guard forces function throughout the Middle East and assist Lebanon's Hezbollah, as well as other Iranian terror proxies, according to NewsMax.

The guard has also been known to have frequent encounters with the U.S. Navy that have been tense in nature.

The events were broadcasted live on their state television, and also included a display of fighter jets and helicopters flying overhead in Tehran, as well as subs sailing across Iranian waters, according to The Times of Israel.

European Jewish Congress responds to Raisi by calling for sanctions on Iran

Raisi's warning to Israel prompted a response from the European Jewish Congress, who is calling on the European Union to impose immediate sanctions on Iran, according to the Jewish Press.

"Threats to wipe out millions of Jews in Israel must automatically disqualify nation states from any form of diplomatic welcome or trade relations in the civilized world," EJC President Dr. Ariel Muzicant said, according to the Jewish Press.

"To make such vile threats as Jews gather to mark Yom HaShoah shows the callous contempt the Iranian regime has for any forms of diplomatic norms.

"Eighty years after the last attempt to wipe out Jews from the world, it is time for European countries to respond in an appropriate manner to Iran by implementing serious diplomatic and economic sanctions against this terror regime," he added.

The Nation of Israel began their National Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday evening, with a speech form Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He compared Iranian leadership to Nazi Germany, a similar theme to previous speeches during past remembrance days.

He noted that the efforts to eradicate the Jewish people have just shifted from the Nazis to Iran, and pointed out that the victories of the past don't guarantee the wins of the future.

Netanyahu said that it's critical for Israel to be able to "defend itself by itself against any enemy, any threat," according to The Times of Israel.