Iran is dedicated to annihilating Israel, the Islamic regime’s military chief of staff declared Sunday.
“The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel,” Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said in a speech to a defense gathering Sunday in Tehran.
His remarks came on the day International Atomic Energy Agency director Yukiya Amano flew to Tehran to negotiate for inspections of Iran’s nuclear program. They were reported by the Fars News Agency, the media outlet of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
While many within the Islamic regime, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have often stated that Israel should be annihilated, until Sunday no one in the nation’s leadership has announced Iran’s determined intention to carry it out. (RELATED: Iran rattles sabers: ’11,000 missiles ready to launch’ at Israel, US targets)
Josh Block, a Middle East expert and former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, told The Daily Caller that it’s unwise to shrug off the threats of a top Iranian military commander.
“When they say it, they mean it,” Block said. “That is the lesson of history. We had best heed that reality. You can be sure the Israelis already understand it.”
Block is a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute who worked in the Clinton administration’s State Department. He told TheDC that the U.S. should be concerned about “an Iran that could give nuclear technology to their terrorist allies, including those like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah.”
In a statement, American Jewish Committee executive director David Harris said Firouzabadi’s comments “should also put to rest, once and for all, the fanciful views of those remaining political leaders, diplomats, and journalists who contend that Iran is a ‘peaceful’ nation which has simply been ‘misunderstood’ by the global community.”
Meir Dagan, the former head of Israel’s Mossad, and U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, have both said recently that Iran is a rational actor in the international arena and that the Iranians will consider the implications of their actions.
Block also told TheDC that “the radicals and pseudo-experts at places like Plowshares, Media Matters, NIAC [the National Iranian American Council], writers for ThinkProgress, the New America Foundation and on and on” are “useful idiots and regime apologists” for Iran who continue to believe irrationally that Iran does not have the capacity to build a nuclear weapon. (RELATED: TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein: More proof Israel cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran)
They “are the same cranks,” he said, “who claim Iran has been ‘misquoted’ or ‘mistranslated’ and never called for the ‘annihilation’ of Israel. Well, I am sure they will find some way to continue their charade, but only to their further discredit.”
On Sunday, Iranian Gen. Firouzabadi also pointed to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s emphasis on the necessity of supporting Palestinians who fight against the “Zionist regime” Israel. Khamenei considers defending Israel’s enemies a religious duty.
The Fars News Agency quoted earlier statements by Khamenei that Iran was directly involved with helping Hezbollah and Hamas during Lebanon’s 33-day war in 2006 and the 22-day Gaza war of 2008-09, which he proclaimed were stinging defeats for Israel.
“In the future too, we will support and help everyone who opposes the Zionist regime,” Khamenei said in February. “The Zionist regime is a real cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut, God willing.”
The mullahs leading Iran’s Islamic regime believe in the messianic return of the 12th and last Islamic messiah, Imam Mahdi. According to Shiite belief, Mahdi will reappear at the time of Armageddon, and his coming — as the Iranian documentary “The Coming Is Upon Us” revealed — will be triggered by the destruction of Israel.
In a recent statement, Grand Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, a religious authority and a top Iranian “Twelver Shia” — one who believes in the 12th Imam — addressed the future world described in the Quran. “The Quran is the proof that the world will be controlled and managed by the forces of truth and that there will be one government ruling everyone throughout the world,” he explained.
The Quran promises — twice — the worldwide rule of Islam and its victory over all other religions, Sobhani said, and this will only happen when the last descendant of Muhammad, Imam Mahdi, returns and takes the rule of Islam across the world.
Ayatollah Khamenei referred to this prophecy in a recent speech. “In light of the realization of the divine promise by almighty God,” he said, “the Zionists and the Great Satan [America] will soon be defeated. Allah’s promise will be delivered, and Islam will be victorious.”
In February, conservative Muslims writing on a website tied to Khamenei told their followers that the Quran’s promises were “a ‘jurisprudential justification’ to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel, and in that, the Islamic government of Iran must take the helm.”
Additional reporting contributed by David Martosko
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray.” He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).