Israel Will Strike Tehran if Tel Aviv Is Targeted, Defense Chief Warns, Saying Islamic Regime's Days Are Numbered

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, and Israeli Defense Defense Avigdor Lieberman stand for the National Anthem during an enhanced honor cordon to welcome Lieberman at the Pentagon Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stand for National Anthem during a welcome ceremony at the Pentagon Tuesday, March 7, 2017Credit: Cliff Owen/AP
Jack Khoury

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened Iran during an interview with a Saudi website and asserted that if the Islamic regime attacks Tel Aviv, Israel "will strike Tehran and destroy every Iranian military site that threatens Israel in Syria, whatever the price."

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Speaking with Elaph, which runs interviews with Israeli officials for the Arab speaking world, Lieberman said the regime in Iran is nearing its last days.

"Israel doesn't want war ... but if Iran attacks Tel Aviv, we will hit Tehran," Lieberman told the Arabic-language, Saudi-owned news website, which is based in London.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to his supporters during his visit to Mashhad, Iran, March 21, 2018. Credit: AP

Lieberman is currently in the U.S. for meetings with his counterpart, Defense Secretary James Mattis. He will also hold talks with National Security Adivser John Bolton.

Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader called on Muslim nations to unite against the U.S., state television reported on Thursday, saying Tehran would never yield to its arch foe's "bullying."

"The Iranian nation has successfully resisted bullying attempts by America and other arrogant powers and we will continue to resist... All Muslim nations should stand united against America and other enemies," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. 

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Khamenei's remarks come ahead of the Iran nuclear deal deadline, May 12, when U.S. President Donald Trump will decide whether to restore U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran, which would be a severe blow to the 2015 pact between Iran and six major powers, including France. 

Following his joint meeting of Congress, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that he would expect Trump to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal based on his past statements while stressing he does not know what Trump will decide on May 12.

"I don't know what the American decision will be but the rational analysis of all President Trump's statements does not lead me to believe that he will do everything to stay in the JCPOA (Iranian nuclear deal)," Macron told a news conference. 

In his message to Congress, Macron said that the deal "may not address all concerns and very important concerns," but added that "we should not abandon it without having something substantial and more substantial instead. That's my position."

A senior German official said on Thursday that proposals presented by Macron on the deal are based on the existing international agreement but would add some new elements.

Speaking before Chancellor Angela Merkel heads to Washington for talks with Trump, the official said: "The premise of Macron's proposal is that the agreement remains in its existing form and additional elements come on top." 

 "In our view this agreement should be maintained," the official added.

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