Any war Zion­ists start will lead to them be­ing erased, IRGC official threat­ens

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

The deputy com­man­der of the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps in Iran slammed Is­rael and warned that the Islamic Re­pub­lic has bases from the Red Sea to the Mediter­ranean.

In com­ments made pub­lic over the week­end, Brig.-Gen. Hos­sein Salami told a fo­rum at the Univer­sity of Damghan in Sem­nan province in north­ern Iran that his forces have bases through­out the Mid­dle East and that Iran was con­fronting “the Zion­ists” and Amer­i­cans in the re­gion.

Speak­ing at the Na­tional Fo­rum for hon­or­ing “mu­jahideen,” which in­cluded “ji­hadist fig­ures from Bahrain and Ye­men,” ac­cord­ing to Iran's Al-Alam News Net­work, the IRGC com­man­der claimed that Iran had emerged vic­to­ri­ous from re­cent con­flicts in the Mid­dle East.

“The Zion­ists know that to­day any war they start will lead to their be­ing erased. We have bases of the Islamic Revo­lu­tion from the Mediter­ranean to the Red Sea,” he said. Hezbol­lah has be­come a “night­mare” to Is­rael, ac­cord­ing to Salami. He also pointed to the war in Ye­men and said Iran's Houthi al­lies in Ye­men “will never die.”

Salami also claimed that Iran was im­prov­ing its bal­lis­tic missiles, not­ing that “our mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties have grown to­day in all di­men­sions as we need high ac­cu­racy.” He also said Iran would con­front the US eco­nom­i­cally and de­feat the US sanc­tions that were reim­posed on November 5. As ev­i­dence for Iran's abil­ity to get around the sanc­tions he noted that the US had given eight coun­tries ex­emp­tions, al­low­ing them to trade with Iran. This was a vic­tory for Tehran.

“The IRGC is very strong and pop­u­lar to­day. It has been formed in Syria along­side the official army, which is not fight­ing the rem­nants of the United States,” he said ac­cord­ing to a Fars News re­port. Salami also hinted that in Iraq those who op­pose the US pres­ence, in­clud­ing many Ira­nian-backed al­lies among Shi'ite mili­tias that are af­fil­i­ated with the govern­ment, could “abide the en­emy,” in­di­cat­ing they would wait out the Amer­i­can pres­ence un­til the US leaves.

The speech charts a course for Iran's role in the re­gion. It not only shows that Tehran is seek­ing to con­struct a cor­ri­dor of power stretch­ing from Tehran to the Mediter­ranean via Iraq, Syria and Le­banon, but that it also sees the Red Sea as part of its plan.

Over the last two years as the Syr­ian civil war con­tin­ued and the war on ISIS led to Iran gain­ing in­creas­ing in­flu­ence in Iraq and Syria, ex­perts warned about Iran's “road to the sea.”

This is one of the first speeches in which the IRGC has ac­knowl­edged that it has con­structed a map of in­flu­ence and bases across the re­gion, and that those bases are di­rected at the US and Is­rael. Com­bin­ing th­ese de­tails with his de­tail­ing of the in­creas­ing pre­ci­sion of Tehran's mis­sile pro­grams, il­lus­trates that Iran is no longer con­cerned about boast­ing about the power it wields.

In Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, Iran launched bal­lis­tic missiles at Kur­dish op­po­si­tion groups in Iraq and at ISIS in Syria, show­cas­ing its abil­i­ties. In Ye­men it con­tin­ues to im­prove the missiles of the Houthi rebels that they have been fired at Saudi Ara­bia.

(Reuters)

IRANIANS BURN Is­raeli flags dur­ing a protest mark­ing al-Quds Day in June.

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