21:42 GMT24 February 2021
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    Iran-Israel tensions escalated in late November 2020, when prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in an attack that Tehran blamed on Tel Aviv, who has remained silent on the matter.

    Hostilities between Tehran and Tel Aviv should end, former Iranian ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani told the Israeli news network Channel 12.

    "It is time for the Iranian regime to stop inventing enemies that don't exist", Masoumi-Tehrani, who is currently an opposition figure, asserted, citing the "many years of friendship" between "Iranians and Jews".

    The ex-ayatollah went on by claiming that he "hasn't met Iranians who don't have a positive opinion of Israel".

    "We don't have a problem — not with Israel and not with any other country in the world", the senior Iranian cleric argued as he signalled his readiness to visit the Jewish state "to witness the end of the illogical hostility between the Iranian and Israeli peoples".

    Masoumi-Tehrani also berated what he described as Tehran's repeated threats to destroy Israel, saying, "Don't forget, these slogans were also said by [late former Iraqi President ] Saddam Hussein, and we know where he is today".

    Hussein was executed on 30 December 2006, after he was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity, which was preceded by a US-led coalition invading Iraq to oust the Iraqi president who was accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction that were never found.

    As far as Tehran-Tel-Aviv tensions are concerned, they further worsened on 27 November 2020, when eminent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in an attack that took place more than 100 killometres from Tehran.

    Senior Iranian officials immediately pointed the finger at Israel, who has since then remained tight-lipped on the matter.

    The Islamic Republic severed all relations with Israel following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, with Tehran denying the Jewish state’s right to exist and threating to wipe it off the map.

    Tel Aviv, in turn, accuses Iran of trying to obtain a nuclear weapon and turning Syria into a "base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel". Iran denies the accusations, claiming that its nuclear programme is purely peaceful and that there are only Iranian military advisers in Syria.

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    assassination, hostility, relations, Israel, Iran
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