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Iran army chief: We will destroy Israel

The commander of Iran’s army said yesterday that his forces will destroy Israel and that he backs Tehran’s support for terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

According to the Iranian Fars news agency, Ataollah Salehi said, “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.” He added, “We are glad that we are in the forefront of executing supreme leader’s order to destroy the Zionist regime.” Indeed, earlier this month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said via Twitter, “God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years.”

Western leaders have condemned such incendiary rhetoric and Tehran’s attitude towards Israel. Nonetheless, the recent nuclear deal does not address these issues, nor Iran’s development of ballistic weaponry which could be aimed at Israel. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned that Iranian aggression “will grow as a result of the deal.”

Meanwhile, Salehi also said that, “They [Israel] have been hit by those supported by us [Iran],” such as Hezbollah and Hamas. He warned that “even though they [Israel] have not confronted us directly; if they confront us directly they will be destroyed.” Khamenei last month pledged to support the likes of Hezbollah, who fight Israel by “all possible means.”

Netanyahu told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin this week that Iran is looking to open a front against Israel on the Syrian border via Hezbollah, which is thought to have been responsible for explosives aimed at Israeli troops in the vicinity and attempted infiltrations on a number of occasions. However, Lebanon’s Daily Star reported this week that Hezbollah is looking to scale down its presence in Syria, where its troops have fought alongside President Assad’s forces for more than a year and is thought to have suffered heavy losses. Apparently, Hezbollah will no longer take part in offensive operations, but simply defend territory already controlled by the Assad regime.