A senior Iranian official on Saturday warned that Tehran would immediately strike Israel if the United States "makes a mistake." The pledge was yet another escalation in a war of words that has erupted in the wake of Iran's ballistic missile testing and, in response, Washington's announcement of new sanctions.
Mojtaba Zonour, a senior member of Iran's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and a former Revolutionary Guards official, was quoted in Fars news agency as saying that "only 7 minutes is needed for the Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv."
Zonour also said the US base in Bahrain would be "razed to the ground" in the event of an attack.
The White House has signaled that it intends to be tough on Iran, with increasingly hostile rhetoric emanating from both Tehran and Washington.
Last Thursday, 2 February, President Trump tweeted that "nothing is off the table" regarding a US response to Iran's recent ballistic missile test.
The same day Zonour's remarks were published, on Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence warned Iran "not to test the resolve" of the Donald Trump administration.
"Iran would do well to look at the calendar and realize there's a new president in the Oval Office. And Iran would do well not to test the resolve of this new president," Pence told ABC News in an interview taped Saturday.
One day later, on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran is "trying to test the limits with unusual aggressiveness, audacity and unparalleled provocation." He made the remark while embarking for London to meet UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
"I think the most important thing now is that countries like the United States, Israel and Britain will stand united against Iranian aggression and define clear boundaries."
The prime minister said that the Iranian issue would be the "first of many topics," he would discuss with May, and with Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.
Meanwhile, the US has deployed the USS Cole destroyer along the Yemen coast. The move comes as a part of increasing US military presence in the area to protect shipping from the Houthi militia, whose alliance with Iran could be problematic amid the escalating tensions between US president Donald Trump and Tehran.
Last week members of Yemen's Houthi movement, a known proxy of Iran, attacked a Saudi ship off the country's western coast. The attack caused an explosion which killed two people on the ship. Saudi officials say Yemeni rebel "suicide" boats carried out the attack.
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by i24News at http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/136889-170205-iranian-official-we-ll-fire-missile-on-tel-aviv-if-americans-make-mistake