On eve of nuclear talks, Iranian spokesperson says destruction of Israel is ‘our greatest goal’

Israel is also ‘very concerned,’ Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, over the idea of an interim deal that would partially lift sanctions on Iran.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Iran’s army spokesperson reiterated Sunday his country’s determination to wipe Israel off the map just ahead of the resumption of talks on a possible return to the abrogated 2015 nuclear deal.

“We will not retreat even one millimeter from the disappearance of the occupying regime in Jerusalem in the world,” Armed Services spokesman Sardar Shekarchi told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA). “The destruction of the occupying regime in Jerusalem is the greatest goal…we pursue.”

Shekarchi also condemned those Arab countries that have normalized relations with Israel, calling them part of a cabal of “international Zionism” that “seeks the slavery of the servants of God.”

The tough talk throws in into sharper relief the concern Israel has repeatedly expressed to the Biden administration and European co-signers on the deal – Germany, France and the EU – over returning to the original agreement. Iran has already blown by all its limits on uranium enrichment, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and the knowledge it has gained toward producing a bomb cannot be unlearned. In addition, Israel has always said that any deal with Iran also had to stop its production of ballistic missiles and its “malign activities” throughout the Middle East.

What possibly worries Jerusalem most right now is the possibility being floated that the Americans would sign an interim agreement with Iran if they see a return to what is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not currently possible. Such a deal would see a partial lifting of economic limitations in return for Iran freezing its nuclear program in place but not dismantling any part of it.

“Israel is very concerned about the willingness to lift sanctions and allow the flow of billions to Iran in exchange for insufficient restrictions on the nuclear program,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the beginning of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “This is the message we’re conveying in every way, bot to the Americans and to the other countries that are negotiating with Iran.”

For its part, Tehran has made it clear that it is going to Austria only to address the lifting of economic sanctions on its regime, and that it will not renegotiate any parameters of the nuclear deal.

“The Americans should come to Vienna with this approach to remove the deadlocks created in the previous negotiations and to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran, which they have imposed since 2015 with fake labels,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. He was speaking at a press conference held to mark the UN-created International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which coincidentally fell out on the same day as the renewal of the nuclear talks.

He took the opportunity to blast Israel as well, reinforcing the public show of antipathy to the Jewish state.

“Palestine is an undeniable ideal for us,” Khatibzadeh said. “The occupying regime in Jerusalem has been violating all international laws for decades and is systematically violating the rights of the Palestinian people.”

November 29 is the date when the United Nations voted in 1947 to partition British-Mandate Palestine into two countries, one for the Jews and one for its Arab residents. All the Arab countries rejected the plan and when the Mandate came to an end six months later, seven of them unsuccessfully invaded the newly minted Israel in order to destroy it.

The annual observance of pro-Palestinian events on the anniversary of what is formally called Resolution 181 began in 1978.