Supreme leader's website via EPA
Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pictured Wednesday.
DUBAI — Iran's most powerful authority said the Islamic Republic would destroy the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel launched a military attack against it.
"At times the officials of the Zionist regime (Israel) threaten to launch a military invasion, but they themselves know that if they make the slightest mistake the Islamic Republic will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said during an address, broadcast live on state television.
Israel has threatened military action against Iran unless it abandons nuclear activities which the West suspects are intended to develop nuclear weapons, allegations Tehran denies.
Khamenei said he was not optimistic about proposals for direct talks with the United States about the nuclear program, saying Washington did not want the issues resolved.
"I am not optimistic about these talks. Why? Because our past experiences show that talks for American officials does not mean for us to sit down and reach a logical solution," he said.
"What they mean by talks is that we sit down and talk until Iran accepts their viewpoint," he said.
This story was originally published on Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:04 AM EDTCopyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.