If Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, Tel Aviv – Israel’s second-most-populated city – will burn to ashes, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned yesterday.

The threat was the latest in a series of verbal assaults that began last week when the supreme leader of the Islamic regime, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech to Iranian researchers and academics, said the world was on the verge of major political and social changes, with Islam playing a leading role.

Then on International Quds Day, every regime official from the supreme leader and president to military commanders openly called for the annihilation of Israel.

Quds Day is an annual event that began after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran. The founder of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, assigned the last Friday of the month of Ramadan as the day to support the Palestinians and damn the Israelis, stating that the movement would have two goals: the freedom of Palestine and destruction of Israel.

On this year’s Quds Day, Khamenei said, “Light of hope will shine on the Palestinians, and this Islamic land will certainly be returned to the Palestinian nation, and the superfluous and fake Zionist regime will disappear from the landscape of geography.”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling Israel’s existence “an insult to all humanity,” said, “The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor. … The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land. … With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists.”

The chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Jafari, stated that Iran is at the helm of worldwide enmity against Israel. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi called “Beitol Moghadas” (Jerusalem) an inseparable part of the world of Islam that will soon return to the Muslims.

As the Washington Times reported last week, the Revolutionary Guards warned that the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad have been armed with chemical, microbial and other weapons of mass destruction and that once the order is given, they will attack Tel Aviv. It also hinted at a nuclear attack on Israel.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Naarallah warned last week that his forces have the capability to inflict “tens of thousands of Israeli deaths.”

Ayatollah Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts, went further and told reporters, “They have seen our missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers in the Islamic Republic’s exercises, and in case of an attack, Tel Aviv will turn into ashes.

“The world has seen that the Islamic Iran is committed with its goal to free Beitol Moghadas and that all the pressures exerted on Iran have not changed that one bit,” Khatami said. “On the Quds Day held in France, Russia and other countries, the shout of ‘Death to Israel’ was loud and clear among the people. This shows the claim by America, that the world is against Iran, is specific to those countries that are servants of America; however, the freedom lovers of the world are on the side of Iran and glorify and bow to Iran.”

Khatami said the “Quran states that in facing the Zionists, one must use force.”

“God willing, soon the removal of Israel from the world will come together for the Muslims,” he said.

News reports from inside Iran indicate that Ahmadinejad will attend the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly next month in New York and that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has arranged a dinner at which President Obama will be joined by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad’s office has denied the dinner report.

Reza Kahlili translated this Iranian video about Islamic prophecies of a coming messiah and the destruction of Israel:

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book, “A Time to Betray.” He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security.

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