Major General Ataollah Salehi, the commander-in-chief of the Iranian army, said this week that the army is “glad” to be at the “forefront” of those carrying out the wishes of Iran’s Supreme Leader to destroy Israel, the Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday.
“Israel only barks, no matter how much weapons are given to [it], we are going to destroy them, we will promise this task will be done,” Salehi was quoted as saying by the Fars News Agency.
Salehi expressed pride in Iran’s support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah that seek the Jewish state’s destruction. The military leader also said that Iran has been directly responsible for attacks on Israel.
“We are glad that we are in the forefront of executing supreme leader’s order to destroy the Zionist regime,” he said. “They have been hit by those supported by us [Iran] even though they have not confronted us directly; if they confront us directly they will be destroyed.”
The Free Beacon commissioned a translation of the original Farsi report.
An English translation of Salehi’s remarks that appeared on the Fars news agency website suggested that Salehi was referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s declaration earlier this month that Israel would be destroyed within 25 years.
During and following the negotiations that led to the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 nations, top Iranian officials have threatened Israel and called for its elimination. In March, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of the Basij militia, called Israel’s destruction “nonnegotiable.” Shortly before the agreement was reached, a reported moderate, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran and ally of current President Hassan Rouhani, called Israel an “alien existence” that he believes will “be wiped off the map.” A week after the deal was signed, Khamenei praised crowds who were shouting “Death to America, ” and “Death to Israel.” Last month, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, that the nuclear deal presented a “historic opportunity” to confront Israel. That same month, Hussein Sheikholeslam, a senior adviser to Iran’s parliament speaker, rejected a plea from British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond for Iran to moderate its views about Israel, saying, “Israel should be annihilated.”
Last month, following rocket attacks into northern Israel launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is backed by Iran, an arms expert assessed that Hezbollah possessed rockets that could reach all of Israel. Earlier this week, Avi Issacharoff reported that Iran had boosted its financial support of Hezbollah and Hamas in anticipation of the billions it will be receiving in sanctions relief.
In 2009, Salehi boasted that Iran could destroy Israel in eleven days.
[Photo: teleSURtv / YouTube ]