A top Iranian commander has claimed that the Islamic Republic had the ability to destroy Israel "in less than eight minutes," according to comments offered on the same day that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared that Iran would continue to build its ballistic missile arsenal in defiance of U.S. demands.
"If the Supreme Leader’s orders [are] to be executed, with the abilities and the equipment at our disposal, we will raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes," Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp’s al-Quds Force, was quoted as stating, according to regional reports.
The threat comes as Khamenei declared in a speech Monday that U.S. "cries" over Iran’s ballistic missile program will not alter the regime’s behavior.
"They [the U.S.] have engaged in a lot of hue and cry over Iran's missile capabilities, but they should know that this ballyhoo does not have any influence and they cannot do a damn thing," Khamenei was quoted as saying during a speech Monday in Tehran, according to Iran’s state-controlled media.
"Jihad still exists," Khamenei added "Great Jihad means not abiding by the enemy whom we are fighting; not abiding by enemy in economy, politics, culture and art is the great Jihad."
The Supreme Leader said the United States is the source of all hostility in the region.
"The main cause of all such animosities … is opposition to the arrogant powers," he was quoted as saying.
"The nuclear issue and missiles are excuses and of course excuses are useless and they can do no damn thing," Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to Fars. "The point is Iran doesn’t follow arrogant powers."
"The U.S. and other powers are extremely sad at this issue and they have no other option; that is why they made huge efforts in order to bring the country’s decision-making and decision-taking centers under their control, but they failed and God willing, they will continue to fail," he added.