TEHRAN — Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanani said his country will not hesitate to respond to "foolish" moves by the Israeli government, as the war of words between the two enemies is escalating.
Addressing reporters in Tehran on Monday, Kanani was reacting to a recent warning from David Barnea, director of Israel's foreign intelligence agency, Mossad. Barnea has accused Iran of intensifying its worldwide "terror" campaign against Israeli citizens and Jewish targets. He warned that should Iran harm Israeli citizens, his country will hit the "highest echelon … in the heart of Tehran."
"Such an overt announcement of plots to assassinate the officials of a country is only indicative of the nature of this terrorist regime," Kanani declared, arguing that Israel has a proven record of "resorting to terrorist moves to achieve its illegitimate objectives."
The Islamic Republic and the Jewish state have been exchanging accusations about the targeting of their citizens, both on their respective soil and abroad. Most notably, Iran blames Israel for a chain of killings of its nuclear and missile experts since 2010. Most of the attacks occurred in or around the capital, Tehran, with Israel neither denying nor confirming involvement.
Yet the latest rhetoric did not end there, as Iran expressed unease with signs of piecemeal Israeli rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. The participation of an Israeli delegation at a meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in Riyadh was brought to the attention of the Iranian spokesman at his Tehran presser.
"The presence of the Zionist regime in regional bodies is disruptive to the stated goals in multilateral cooperation in the region," he said.
Normalization pacts between Israel and several Arab states since 2020 have been met with condemnation in Tehran. Iran's hard-line cleric and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has even denounced such reconciliation moves as acts of "treason" against the Islamic community.
"In our bilateral and multilateral meetings with the officials of the Islamic and Arab countries, we have declared our stance on the Zionist regime's nature and the menace its presence in regional bodies poses."
Kanani said the Islamic Republic had communicated "clearly our opinion to Saudi officials both in Tehran and in Riyadh." He did not specify if or how those authorities had addressed the Iranian concern.