16:20 GMT05 December 2020
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    Earlier, amid nation-wide commemorations marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 triumph of the Islamic Revolution, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander told Iranian media that the country's military would "raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground" if attacked by the US.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has responded to the IRGC's harsh rhetoric about attacking Israel on Monday, saying that although he was "not ignoring the threat of the Iranian regime," he was also "unimpressed by them."

    "If this regime makes the mistake of threatening us and tries to destroy Tel Aviv or Haifa, they won't succeed, and it will be the last anniversary of the revolution that they celebrate. They should take that into account," Netanyahu said, as reported by Haaretz.

    The Israeli prime minister's comments came in direct response to IRGC political affairs spokesman Yadollah Javani, who warned earlier on Monday that Iran would attack Israel if threatened by Washington. Brig. Gen. Ramezan Sharif, another IRGC spokesman, stressed that Iran has reached defensive capabilities allowing it to "firmly punish any aggression."

    Israel and Iran have not maintained diplomatic relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Tensions between the two Middle Eastern powers have been smouldering in recent years over Israeli lobbying to get the US to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and continued Israeli airstrikes in Syria, which Israel claims target Iranian forces and military installations.

    Tel Aviv has also accused Tehran of waging a proxy war in Syria and propping up hostile actors in Lebanon. Iran has vehemently denied these claims, insisting that its military presence in Syria is limited to military advisers and arms sent at Damascus's request to fight terrorism. The two countries periodically exchange hostile rhetoric, with Iranian military officials regularly threatening to "remove the Zionist regime from the political map," and Israeli officials calling Iran a "dictatorial theocracy."

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