TEHRAN — Iran's president Tuesday reiterated threats against Israel while marking the country's annual Army Day, though he stayed away from criticizing Saudi Arabia as Tehran seeks a détente with the kingdom.
The comments by Ebrahim Raisi came as fighter jets and helicopters flew overhead in Tehran, and as Iranian submarines sailed across its waters during a ceremony carried live by state television.
Speaking at the ceremony, Raisi threatened Israel, which is suspected of carrying out a series of attacks targeting Iran since the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers.
“Enemies, particularly the Zionist regime, has receive the message that any tiny action against (our) country will prompt a harsh answer from the armed forces, which will accompany the destruction of Haifa and Tel Aviv," Raisi said.
Raisi also reiterated a demand for the U.S. to leave the Mideast. American policy since the Carter administration has viewed protected the Persian Gulf region as crucial to securing global energy supplies. A fifth of the world's supply of oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.
While not specifically naming Saudi Arabia, Raisi did offer an olive branch in his remarks.
“The hand of our armed forces warmly shakes the hand of the regional nations that intend to create security in the region,” the president said.