Iran’s top general has said it is time to obliterate the “sinister regime” of Israel, and that it’s now possible due to new military might, as international tensions escalate.
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, has announced that destroying arch rival Israel has become an “achievable goal” thanks to his country’s technological advances.
“This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer … a dream (but) it is an achievable goal,” Major General Hossein Salami said, quoted by the Guards’ Sepah news site.
Four decades on from Iran’s Islamic revolution, “we have managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the impostor Zionist regime”, he said.
Salami’s comments, while not unusual for Iranian officials, come amid particularly heightened international tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and a series of incidents that have raised fears of a confrontation between Tehran and its other main regional rival, Riyadh.
The United States, which withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018, has imposed a campaign of “maximum pressure” — with vocal support from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The comments by the commander of Iran’s ideological army were given prominent coverage by the Tasnim and Fars news agencies, close to ultraconservative political factions.
The official IRNA agency also carried his remarks, but placed more emphasis on his assertion that Iran was growing stronger and would finally beat its foes despite “hostility” towards it.
In contrast, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi in a tweet wished “Happy (Jewish) New Year to our Jewish compatriots and to all true followers of great prophet Moses (PBUH)”, an acronym for ‘peace be upon him.’
Mousavi’s greeting was written in Persian, English and Hebrew. Iran only has a few thousand Jews left compared to between 80,000 and 100,000 before its 1979 revolution.
The country has been consistently hostile towards Israel since its revolution, and Tehran openly supports anti-Israeli armed groups including Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an outspoken opponent of any rapprochement between Tehran and the West, has charged that “Iran calls for Israel’s destruction and they work for its destruction each day, every day, relentlessly”.
Iran ranks 9th on persecution watchdog, Open Doors 2019 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most deadly to be a Christian.