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Iran will target US, Israel if it is attacked: Iranian cleric

The speech was delivered on Eid al-Adha in Tehran [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 22 August, 2018

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A senior Iranian cleric said the United States and its Israeli ally would be targeted should there be an attack on Iran.
The United States and its Israeli ally would be targeted in the event of a US attack on Iran, a senior Iranian cleric warned on Wednesday, as tensions between the rivals continue to boil.

In a speech delivered to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid, Ahmed Khatami told worshippers in Tehran that the US president’s attempts to halt Iran’s missile program was an act of dictatorship.

“Americans say you should accept what we say in the talks. So this is not negotiation, but dictatorship. The Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation would stand up against dictatorship,” Khatami was quoted as saying by Mizan news agency.

“The price of a war with Iran is very high for America. They know if they harm this country and this state in the slightest way, the United States and its main ally in the region, the Zionist regime (of Israel) would be targeted,” Khatami said.

The comments came just a day after images on Iran’s state television showed President Hassan Rouhani sitting in the cockpit of the new "Kowsar" plane at the National Defence Industry exhibition, Iran’s first domestic fighter jet.

The plane was first publicly announced on Saturday by Defence Minister Amir Hatami, who said the defence programme was motivated by memories of the missile attacks Iran suffered during its eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, and by repeated threats from Israel and the United States that "all options are on the table" in dealing with the Islamic republic.

"We have learned in the (Iran-Iraq) war that we cannot rely on anyone but ourselves. Our resources are limited and we are committed to establishing security at a minimum cost," he said in a televised interview.

The US has sold hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons to Iran's regional rivals, but has demanded that Tehran curb its defence programmes, and is in the process of reimposing crippling sanctions in a bid to force its capitulation.

In May, the US said it was abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on Iran in two phases in August and November. 

The second phase will target Iran's oil industry.

The other parties to the nuclear deal - Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia - have vowed to stay in the accord but their companies risk huge penalties if they keep doing business in Iran.

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