Iran commander: 'Israel can start war but we will end it'

Nuclear talks between Iran, Europe and US scheduled to begin this month

An Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander has hit back at Israel's claims that they are ready for armed conflict.

Earlier this week, an Israeli commander said the country is preparing for possible armed conflict with Iran.

In response to the warning, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC aerospace branch, said that should Israel instigate war, Iran would end it.

He was quoted by Tasnim news agency at a cultural event saying that if Israel makes a miscalculation in its decisions, “Tehran will accelerate its destruction”.

The retort comes just weeks before Iran, Europe and the US resume nuclear talks in Vienna.

Israeli army chief of staff Lt Gen Aviv Kohavi said on Tuesday that the Israeli military was “speeding up the operational plans and readiness for dealing with Iran and the nuclear military threat”.

Israel has long been wary of a nuclear-capable Iran and considers the country an existential threat. It has on numerous occasions said that it would act, with military force if necessary, to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Despite the warnings, Israel was a major proponent of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accords. The now-defunct deal ensured that Iran's nuclear facilities would be monitored by the UN's atomic watchdog and had set strict limits on the country's uranium enrichment. Although Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only, since the US exit from the deal, Iran has ramped up its uranium production and limited IAEA access to its Natanz site.

Although Iran has long had strained ties with Israel and has also spoken of the potential for conflict, Tehran has taken a decidedly tougher tone with Israel since the election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi.

Before the talks in Vienna, Iran is calling on the US to ensure that it will not exit a second nuclear accord and insisting that the US lifts the sanctions that are crippling its economy.

Updated: November 11th 2021, 11:56 AM