A senior Iranian official threatened today that the Islamic Republic will destroy Israel within “half an hour” in the event of an attack by the United States against his country. The Farsi-language Mehr news agency, owned by the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization, cited the Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mojtaba Zolnour saying that “if the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan.”
The warning was issued just as Tehran admitted to having surpassed the cap placed on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium – in the first clear violation of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the announcement, while stating “we have said very transparently what we will do.” Zarif went on to add that the measures are “reversible” if the “Europeans do what they have to do.” The latter statement referred to demands from the Ayatollah Regime that the pacts’ remaining partners restore economic benefits to Iran that have been severely curtailed by the reimposition of sanctions by the United States, which withdrew from the agreement last year. Europeans leaders have pleaded with the Ayatollah Regime to remain within its parameters, to no avail.
Tehran announced in May that it would accelerate the production of enriched uranium in response to edicts from the White House, that has now effectively ordered the world community to halt all purchases of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors Iran’s nuclear program under the deal, confirmed in Vienna that Tehran had breached the limit.
The step could have far reaching consequences for diplomacy at a time when European countries are trying to pull the United States and Iran back from the brink of war, less than two weeks after Washington aborted air strikes at the last minute, following Tehran’s downing of a U.S. military surveillance drone.
Tensions remain high between Washington and Tehran, in the wake of Iran’s alleged attacks on foreign oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the launching of explosives-laden drones into Saudi Arabia by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency today directly accused Iran of responsibility for the attacks in the Gulf, as well against Saudi Arabia and Iraqi oil fields. Mossad Chief Joseph (Yossi) Cohen said the operations “were approved by the Iranian leadership, and were carried out, at least mostly, by the Revolutionary Guard and their surrogates.” Cohen levelled the accusations during a rare public appearance at the annual Herzliya security conference near Tel Aviv, where he stressed “I can tell you, with certainty, from the best sources of Israeli and Western intelligence, that Iran is behind the attacks.”