Iranian leaders have done it again – publicly stating their intention to destroy Israel.
As was widely reported, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on February 3 said in a speech to worshippers at prayers in Teheran and broadcast on state TV, that Israel is a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.”
Khamenei also said, “From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this”.
In his speech Khameini also said that Iran would continue its nuclear program, and warned that any military strike by the US would only make Iran stronger.
Khamenei’s threats against Israel are all the more frightening because as Iran’s Supreme Leader he has final say on all matters of state. No one can argue, as some have regarding President Ahmedinejad’s bellicose statements, that he does not have his finger on the trigger.
But less noticed was that other significant sources in Iran are discussing both the timing and the strategic details of an Iranian attack on Israel.
According to reports, the Iranian parliament’s official website has published an article calling on the government to attack Israel before the end of the year.
Ahmed Tavakoli head of the Iranian Parliament’s research institute, in the article on the institute’s website, said a pre-emptive strike would be justified in Islamic terms and in practical military terms, given the threats emanating from Israel.
According to Israeli TV Channel 2, the article cites three reasons:
“First – a religious fatwa allowing such a strike. Second – threats from Israel regarding a planned strike on Iran. And third – Iran’s alleged military capability to carry out such an attack. The article specifies that the area between Lod and Jerusalem should be targeted, as well as Tel Nof Air Force Base.”
The Washington Times also reported on the article:
“Noting that Israel lies within the range of Iranian rockets, even those fired from deep inside Iran, he [Tavakoli] proposed hitting sites between Israel’s coastal plain south of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, an area where Israel’s long-range missiles are believed to be stored underground, Channel Two reported. He also proposed hitting Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona, near the Dead Sea, and a small nuclear reactor used for scientific research at Nahal Sorek, south of Tel Aviv. Mr. Tavakoli did not include Tel Aviv or other population centers among his proposed targets. Israeli threats likewise have focused on nuclear sites. Both countries have satellites presumably capable of monitoring activity in the other’s country.”
Further, the Iranian press is also widely quoting a blog post by Alireza Forghani, a computer engineer, who called upon Teheran to “wipe out Israel” by 2014. The post, which appeared on the conservative website Alef, which has ties to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and was then picked up by among other outlets, the Fars News Agency, associated with the Revolutionary Guards. This appears to show that elements of the regime endorse the post.
Forghani urged Teheran not to delay an attack on Israel, claiming that Iran could destroy the Jewish state in “less than nine minutes.”
Using Israeli census data to identify the Israeli targets with the highest concentration of Jewish residents, he wrote that the first step in the strategy, should be to launch ballistic Sijil missiles on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, as well as power stations and other energy sources, sewage facilities, airports, nuclear plants, media hubs and transportation infrastructure. In the second step, Shahab 3 and Ghader missiles should target the rest of the country’s population centres. While he doesn’t say so, Forghani’s estimate that these strikes could wipe out the population of whole cities seems to be predicated on nuclear warheads being employed.
Forghani also wrote that targeting civilians could be justified based on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s ruling that Muslims must wage a Jihad against an enemy who attacks an Islamic nation. He wrote: “So since Israel has attacked Palestine and occupied this part of the Islamic Entity, defending the oppressed Palestinian Muslims is compulsory”.
Iranian discussion of a pre-emptive strike has led some Israeli officials to believe they will have no alternative but to strike soon against Iran’s nuclear facilities if Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons.
Iran’s continued threats to destroy Israel should be a reminder to all that an Iran with nuclear weapons is real threat to Israel, the Middle East and global stability and it is essential that Iran be diverted from this course.
As Jonathan Tobin, the online editor of Commentary wrote:
“An Iranian bomb would change the balance of power in the region and endanger all moderate Arab regimes while strengthening the hand of Tehran’s terrorist allies….But it is only Israel that Iran has promised to destroy. That is why placing a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime pledged to the eradication of the Jewish state is a different order of threat than Khamenei’s usual bluster aimed at the United States. Because of its small size and concentrated population, one or two nuclear explosions would mean another Holocaust.
So when Khamenei repeats the Islamist regime’s pledge to make good on its threat to destroy “the Zionist regime” in the same context as its vow to satisfy its nuclear ambitions, this is no minor rhetorical point. It is, instead, tangible evidence that Israel’s alarm about Iran is justified and that the question of what to do about this threat is a matter of life and death for millions in the Jewish state.”
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic writes that those against an attack on Iran often downplay the threat that Iran poses to Israel, the US, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the region. He writes:
“… one sure way to tell that an opponent of military action is not grappling seriously with the evidence that Iran really, truly, actually prefers to see the Jewish state physically eliminated is if said opponent makes mention of the old line, ‘Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never actually said he wanted to destroy Israel.’ A notable example came last year when Reza Aslan attempted to explain the statement as a Farsi translation gaffe.”
To counter this tendency, Goldberg lists numerous unambiguous examples of statements made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that come from translations made by official Iranian news sources, which illustrate his dangerous intentions for Israel:
“July, 2006: “Nations in the region will be more furious every day. It won’t take long before the wrath of the people turns into a terrible explosion that will wipe the Zionist entity off the map…The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilize to remove this problem. It is a usurper that our enemies made and imposed on the Muslim world, a regime that prevented the progress of the region’s nations, a regime that all Muslims must join hands in isolating worldwide.”
October, 2006: “This regime (Israel) will be gone, definitely…”You (the Western powers) should know that any government that stands by the Zionist regime from now on will not see any result but the hatred of the people…The wrath of the region’s people is boiling… You should not complain that we did not give a warning. We are saying this explicitly now…”
January, 2008: “I advise you to abandon the filthy Zionist entity which has reached the end of the line… It has lost its reason to be and will sooner or later fall. The ones who still support the criminal Zionists should know that the occupiers’ days are numbered.”
February, 2008: “World powers have created a black and dirty microbe named the Zionist regime and have unleashed it like a savage animal on the nations of the region.”
Read it all, here.