News World Iran cleric delivers blunt warning to US

Iran cleric delivers blunt warning to US

Friday Prayers Imam Ahmad Khatami speaks during the Eid Al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) prayer in Tehran, Iran on Thursday. Photo: Getty
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A senior Iranian cleric has warned Washington that if it attacks Iran, the US and Israel will be targeted.

Ahmad Khatami also told worshippers attending Eid prayers in Tehran that President Donald Trump’s offer of talks with Iranian leaders was unacceptable, as the US leader wanted Tehran to concede on its missile program and regional influence.

“Americans say you should accept what we say in the talks. So this is not negotiation, but dictatorship. The Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation would stand up against dictatorship,” Mr Khatami was quoted as saying by Mizan news agency.

“The price of a war with Iran is very high for America. 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 (of Israel) would be targeted.”

Mr Khatami did not elaborate which forces would carry out such attacks, but Iran has said it could target Israeli cities with its missiles if it is threatened. Iran also has proxies in the region, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic’s military prowess was what deterred Washington from attacking it, and vowed to boost Iran’s military might.

The Trump administration slapped sanctions back on Iran this month after withdrawing from the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it was too soft on Tehran and would not stop it developing a nuclear bomb.

Washington imposed new sanctions in August, targeting Iran’s car industry, trade in gold and other precious metals, and purchases of US dollars.

Trump has said the United States will issue another round of tougher sanctions in November that will target Iran’s oil sales and banking sector.