Iranian army spokesperson Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi on Wednesday dismissed remarks made a day earlier by Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi as “psychological warfare,” warning that the “slightest mistake” by Israel would lead the Islamic Republic to “level Haifa and Tel Aviv.”
On Tuesday, Kochavi said the IDF was preparing offensive contingencies against Iran and warned the Biden administration against rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
In an address to the Institute for National Security Studies, Kochavi said that a return to the deal, even with some improvements, “is bad operationally and bad strategically.” He said allowing Iran to proceed with its nuclear program would be “an unacceptable threat and will lead to nuclear proliferation across the region.”
Shekarchi told Iran’s the semi-official Tasnim News Agency: “If we notice the slightest mistake on the part of the Zionist regime towards the regime of the Islamic Republic, we will strike both the missile bases, which, according to them, are intended to strike Iran, and in the shortest time will level Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground.”
According to Shekarchi, Israel was “not yet aware” of all of Iran’s military capabilities.
Mahmoud Vaezi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, also responded to Kochavi’s comments, saying, “Our people and people of the region are familiar with the language so far used by the Zionist regime’s officials, who talk more and seek to conduct psychological warfare.”
Vaezi also argued that Israel has “neither a plan nor the ability” to attack Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed Kochavi’s warnings to Tehran.
“I would like to emphasize that the policy I am pursuing is clear: We will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” he said on Wednesday. “I say this to enemies and friends alike. It is our top mission to preserve the life of our country.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.