Tehran Vows Israel Will Suffer 'Thousands of Billions' of Dollars in Damage If It Dares Attack Iran
18:57 GMT 24.10.2021 (Updated: 04:58 GMT 25.10.2021)
Last week, the Israeli media reported that the government had approved a budget of 5 billion shekels (about $1.5 billion) to prepare for a possible attack against Iran's nuclear facilities. Tel Aviv has repeatedly accused Tehran of secretly pursuing nukes. Tehran has vocally denied the claims.
Israel will be made to pay a grave economic price if it dares attack Iran, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, has warned.
"Instead of allocating [a] $1.5 billion budget for atrocities against Iran, the Zionist regime should focus on providing tens of thousands of billions of dollars funding to repair the damage that is going to be caused by Iran's shocking response", Shamkhani tweeted Sunday.
Shamkhani tweeted the message in Farsi, Hebrew, English, and Arabic, presumably to make sure that the warning reached its intended audience.
The official did not elaborate on what form Iran's hypothetical response to hypothetical Israeli aggression would take. The Islamic Republic is known to have an extensive range of conventional ballistic and cruise missiles, many of them theoretically capable of striking Israel in the event of a conflagration. Tehran also has a number of allies near Israel, including Lebanon's Hezbollah militias, and the Syrian government, which it has assisted in Damascus' decade-long war against an assortment of jihadists and foreign-backed "moderate rebels".
Shamkhani's warning comes in the wake of reporting in the Israeli media last week that the country's authorities had approved $1.5 billion in funding
for preparations to attack Iran's nuclear facilities – with the spending said to include everything from aircraft and intelligence-gathering drones to customised armaments for strikes on heavily fortified underground facilities.
20 October 2021, 19:46 GMT
The funds are reportedly part of a $17.5 billion defence budget for fiscal year 2022 approved this summer.
On Tuesday, Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that he believed a conflict with Iran was inevitable, and suggested that a preemptive attack was the only way to stop the country from building a nuclear bomb.
Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid that "every option" remained on the table regarding Iran's nuclear programme if the 2015 nuclear deal could not be salvaged.
Iran has long maintained that it has no intention of pursuing nukes, or any other weapons of mass destruction, with both of its successive supreme rulers issuing religious rulings citing the creation, production, and use of such arms as incompatible with the tenets of Islam. At the same time, Iran has accused the United Nations' nuclear watchdog and the international community at large of "shameful double standards"
by keeping a close eye on Iran's peaceful nuclear programme while ignoring Israel's suspected status as the Middle East's only nuclear weapons state.
Tel Aviv neither confirms nor denies possessing nuclear weapons, but has threatened to target any regional nation it believes to be pursuing such arms. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Israel possess about 90 warheads - deliverable by aircraft, land-based missiles, and submarines.
Iran and the United States are set to resume talks on the restoration of the nuclear deal in Vienna next month.