Iran’s Top General Threatens to Attack Israel, President Says ‘Termination’ Imminent

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a ceremony marking the country's annual army

The head of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, suggested in a conversation on Thursday with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that continued American and other international support for Israel could “make other actors intervene” against it.

Baqeri’s comments came less than a week after Iran’s foreign minister reportedly suggested Iranian action against the country.

Iran’s radical Islamist regime regularly stages angry mobs chanting “death to Israel” and calling for the massacre of the country’s populations, most recently in response to the October 7 Hamas mass murder of 1,200 Israeli and international civilians, including dozens of infants and elderly people in their homes. On that day, the regime flooded Tehran with revelers for a street party featuring fireworks and free lemonade.

“Our strategy towards the Zionist entity never changes: the removal of the Zionist entity. Israel must be eliminated,” Iranian Armed Forces Spokesman Brigadier-General Abolfazl Shekarchi said in 2021.

Baqeri did not specify in his comments that his own armed forces would be among the actors to invade Israel if it continued to receive international support, but did not deny the possibility, according to a translation of his comments by Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

Also on Thursday, the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, delivered remarks in which he claimed that the mass killing of civilians in a hospital in Gaza attributed to the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad had “set off the termination of Israel,” according to Tasnim. Iran maintains, despite extensive evidence to the contrary, that the Israeli government targeted the hospital.

Baqeri, the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, reportedly made the threat of “other actors” attacking Israel in a phone conversation with Shoigu; Russia is one of Iran’s closest geopolitical allies.

“The continuation of the Zionist regime’s crimes (in Gaza) and the direct support and backing from certain countries would further complicate the situation and could make other actors intervene in this arena,” Baqeri was quoted as saying.

“Any reaction from the resistance groups will be possible if the Zionist regime’s brutal attacks go on, the Iranian general warned,” according to Tasnim.

Iran’s regime-controlled PressTV propaganda outlet suggested that Baqeri specified the “transfer of military equipment and weapons” to Israel as the sort of “direct support” that could lead to unspecified “other players” attacking Israel. In a separate conversation on Thursday with Qatari Defense Affairs Minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Baqeri also reportedly stated that America had participated in alleged war crimes against Palestinians and “Palestinian resistance groups were entitled to self-defense in the face of Israel’s aggression.”

In reality, the unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 did not target the Israeli government or military, but civilians going about their lives peacefully in the country. Hamas terrorists slaughtered entire families and abducted dozens of victims. They filmed themselves desecrating corpses and uploaded the videos to social media. Israeli authorities found extensive evidence of torture on the bodies of the Hamas victims, including victims as young as infants burned alive and decapitated.

The Palestinian terror attack happened on the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, the final day of the annual High Holy Day cycle.

Baqeri’s remarks that unspecified “other players” could attack Israel occurred on the same day that Raisi, at a rally in Tehran, declared the “termination of Israel,” according to Tasnim.

“Every drop of blood of every Palestinian that is spilled on the ground brings the Zionist regime one step closer to its fall,” Raisi declared, referring to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad bombing of the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza. Raisi railed against Israelis, who he falsely held responsible for the bombing, as “anthropomorphic” but not human – “the shape of a human but their heart is the heart of an animal, but even lower than that.”

During the same event, Raisi accused Israel of “genocide.”

The commentary from Iranian leaders on Thursday is consistent with the repeated threats out of Tehran since the Hamas attack on October 7. Last week, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian reportedly told U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland that his country would “have to respond” to Israel if it attempts to eliminate the Hamas threat in Gaza.

Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei similarly threatened “greater disaster” for Israel in some of his first remarks after the Hamas attack, praising “Palestinian youth” for the slaughter of civilians in Israel.

“The rulers and decision-makers of the Zionist regime and their supporters should know that these actions will bring a greater disaster upon them, and the Palestinian people, with a firmer determination, will slap their hideous faces harder in response to these crimes,” Khamenei asserted.

This week, Khamenei falsely claimed that the 1,200 people Hamas killed were not civilians.

“Those who live in [Israeli] settlements are not civilians. They are all armed,” Khamenei said, promising an “uncontrollable Muslim reaction” if the Israeli military responds to the Hamas slaughter.

Iran is a longtime state sponsor of Hamas, sending $100 million a year to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the group responsible for the hospital bombing this week, according to a 2020 U.S. State Department report. A spokesman for Hamas told the BBC on October 7 that Iran offered “direct backing” for the massacre.

Editor’s Note:  This story was updated to reflect a revised number on the death toll from the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel.  The Israeli government estimate of 1,400 was revised to around 1,200, according to Reuters.

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