Iran’s religious and military figures Friday unleashed threats against “enemies”, particularly Israel, as they praised the IRGC for its activities in the region.

The main speaker at Tehran’s Friday Prayer, the hardline ayatollah Ahmad Khatami highlighting the Revolutionary Guard, IRGC, as a force enjoying popularity, said, “It is IRGC’s honor to say we fired missiles and if you take one more step, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be flattened to the ground.”

The Young Journalists’ Club website, an IRGC affiliated media outlet, while covering Khatami’s remarks reminded its leadersthat in March the Guards fired “ten precision Fateh missiles” at Erbil, the center of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region. Tehran claimed that the target was a Mossad base that was plotting against the Islamic Republic.

Ayatollah Khatami in his speech also said the IRGC should be removed from the US list of terrorist organizations, and threatened anyone who would say otherwise.

Eleven months of talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have come to a halt partly because Tehran has demanded that the Biden administration reverse an executive order by former President Donald Trump, which designated the Revolutionary Guard as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

Khatani’s threat to those who would oppose Iran’s demand was most likely directed at domestic critics, such as former presidential daughter Faezeh Hashemi who had said last week in a social media debate that removing the IRGC from the FTO list is not in Iran’s interest. “The only way for the IRGC to return to the barracks is to keep them on the sanctions list,” she argued.

Deputy commander of the RGC, Ali Fadavi

The Biden administration has said it would consider removing the IRGC from the terrorist list if Iran was ready to discuss non-nuclear issues, meaning its regional foreign policy and support for militant groups.

Khatami also demanded that Iran’s PMD (Possible military dimensions) file should be closed and all nuclear and non-nuclear sanctions removed. “The final message is this: Whatever the Supreme Leader wishes should be achieved, and the negotiators cannot deviate from his red lines even one inch,” the firebrand cleric said.

Deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Ali Fadavi also spoke elsewhere on Friday and predicted “America’s isolation and the destruction of the Zionist regime.” He said the nature of the Islamic Republic is to fight “arrogance”, a term used to mean the United States, insisting that this has not changed in 43 years since the establishment of the religious ruling order.

Comparing Iran’s resources with the those of the United States, Fadavi said “America’s military budget is $80 billion,” perhaps not realizing that the latest US defense budget is over $700 billion. Despite the huge disparity, he said, Yemen’s Houthis are able to dictate terms to Saudi Arabia, without explaining what the relation is between Iran’s resources and the military power of Yemen’s rebel forces.

Fadavi admitted that Iran’s economic situation is not good but blamed it on following “the orders of the enemy” and having the United States as a guide. He claimed that if Iran follows God’s and Quran’s rules all economic problems can be resolved.

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