Iran on Wednesday said that it would hit American and Israeli targets if the United States was to commence an attack, Reuters reported. Senior Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami warned that the price of a war with Iran would be very high for the US. Khatami is seen as close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“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 [Israel], would be targeted,” Khatami said.
The comments came after United States National Security Adviser John Bolton, during a visit to Israel on Wednesday, said that US sanctions are having a strong effect on Iran’s economy and popular opinion.
“Let me be clear, the reimposition of the sanctions, we think, is already having a significant effect on Iran’s economy and on, really, popular opinion inside Iran,” Bolton told Reuters. “There should not be any doubt that the US wants this resolved peacefully, but we are fully prepared for any contingency that Iran creates.”
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump reimposed economic sanctions against Iran, calling them the “most biting sanctions ever”. Trump had announced in May that he was pulling the US out of a Barack Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it “decaying and rotten”.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said it would increase the country’s defensive capabilities and not give in to US pressure to do away with the ballistic missile programme, according to Reuters. If Iran is threatened, it could also strike Israeli cities with missiles, said the elite corps.
Last week, Khamenei had said that Iran would neither go to war nor hold negotiations with the US. “Recently, US officials have been talking blatantly about us,” he tweeted. “Besides sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations. In this regard, let me say a few words to the people: There will be no war, nor will we negotiate with the US.”