In response to growing tensions, Iran is flexing its muscles and threatening to send “millions” of soldiers into Palestinian territories to fight Israel.
Commander of Iran’s Basij force, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, said millions of Iranians are ready to be sent to the Gaza Strip in order to assist the Palestinians in their fight against Israel, Porsa News reported (Persian link). The commander also argued that the demands and terms raised by the United States in the nuclear talks are exaggerated, and that Washington sponsors ISIS.
In a press conference in Tehran, Naqdi said:
“Millions of Basijis (volunteer forces) in Iran are ready to be dispatched to Syria and Gaza Strip and they have come to us (for registration)… (in order to get) the necessary training and skills… we also try to implement the same plan in the West Bank, God willing.”
The Basij is a volunteer paramilitary force, with both male and female components, founded in 1979 by the commander of the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini. The Basij played a prominent role during the Iran-Iraq war.
Naqdi’s remarks came after Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, indicated that Palestinians should stage an armed struggle against Israel. Amid the growing tensions in Jerusalem, Khamenei called last week for the destruction of Israel and urged the arming of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank:
“We believe that the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza. It requires a hand of power. Those who care for the destiny of Palestine, if there is anything that they can do, it’s this one; people there should be armed.”
Other Iranian officials also reiterated the call for arming the Palestinians in the West Bank, saying that the move would lead to Israel’s collapse. Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Massoud Jazzayeri, said:
“The holy Quds occupiers’ fear from arming the people and the resistance movement in the West Bank shows how deeply Tel Aviv is vulnerable to the start of a new phase of (Palestinians’) fight and resistance.”
[Photo: Casey Hugelfink / flickr]