In a sizable escalation of its threats to annihilate Israel, Iran’s official Fars News Agency today prominently featured the Lieutenant Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Command Council boasting that Iran’s military was prepared “to destroy ‘the Zionist Regime'” at a moments notice.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami was quoted by Fars as saying that “Iranian military commanders are prepared to attack and destroy the Zionist regime as soon as we receive such an order.”
While promising to destroy Israel is an every day part of official state rhetoric and a permanent component of Iran’s foreign and domestic policy, Tuesday’s language is nonetheless considered a serious escalation, if not by anyone in Washington or Brussels, then certainly in Jerusalem.
The threats came just two days after EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton visited Tehran and spoke warmly of what she called Iran’s “good progress” in its negotiations with the international community.
Fars claimed Salami’s comments were made in a speech delivered Tuesday at ‘The Islamic World’s Role in the Geometry of the World Power’ Conference in Teheran. “Islam has given us this capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger,” the official state news agency quoted Salami as telling the conference.
“Today,” he continued, “Iran can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime’s control with any volume of fire power we want.”
Salamis’ comments were published one day after Israel publicly displayed the contents of a massive illicit Iranian arms shipment destined for its Hamas terrorist allies in Gaza. The ship, the Panamanian flagged Klos-C, was interdicted several hundred miles off the coast of Sudan in the Indian Ocean by a Israeli naval commandos last week and brought under tow, to the Israeli port of Eilat.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon inspected an open display of the seized cargo, which included 40 Syrian made advanced medium-range rockets able with an effective range of 100 miles. As seized and displayed were 181 mortar shells and nearly half a million rifle rounds of 7.62 millimeter bullets.
Netanyahu used the display of weapons to again make the case that at the same time Iran is being celebrated for mouthing platitudes to gullible Western leaders anxious to resume commercial relations with the heavily sanctioned regime, Iran is undeterred in its pursuit of nuclear weapons and in its support for and assistance to terrorist groups like Hamas.
Neither the State Department nor the White House have provided any comment on General Salami’s incendiary speech nor the prominence that speech has been given in Iranian state-controlled media.