In a Monday statement, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Iran’s technological advances have brought it closer to the goal of destroying Israel.
In comments published by a Revolutionary Guard publication and reported by Voices of America, Major General Hossein Salami said Iran has gained the capacity to destroy the “imposter Zionist regime,” referring to Israel.
“This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer… a dream (but) it is an achievable goal,” said the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Salami’s comments were carried on by coverage in Iran’s Tasnim and Fars News sites, as well as the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), which serves as an official news agency for the Iranian government.
Salami’s comments come amid heightened tensions between Iran and it’s other primary Middle Eastern rival Saudi Arabia, following a drone and missile strike on Saudi oil production facilities.
While Saudi and United States officials have blamed Iran for the attack, Iran has denied involvement and Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said efforts to blame Iran for the attack are part of a Saudi Arabian and “Zionist regime” effort to draw the U.S. into a war with Iran.
Last week, ahead of planned appearances at the United Nations by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and foreign minister, Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is looking for diplomatic resolutions with Iran, but that Iran is not behaving reciprocally.
“Apparently the Iranians are bloodthirsty and looking for war,” Pompeo said.
Tensions with Iran have risen since 2018 after the U.S. withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal with the country. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump, to back out of the Iran deal. Netanyahu said the deal did not adequately restrain Iranian nuclear development and instead would “enable Iran to threaten Israel’s survival.”
“Iran calls for Israel’s destruction and they work for its destruction each day, every day, relentlessly,” Netanyahu said.
In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of military strikes in Syria and has warned of Iran’s backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Israel has vowed to deny Iran a foothold in Syria, or allow it to arm Hezbollah allies in the Syrian neighbor country of Lebanon.
According to the Voices of America, while Iranian military leaders had in the past called for the destruction of Israel, Tehran has slightly altered its stance against Israel in recent years. Now Iranian leaders tend to suggest the destruction of the Jewish state would be the result of its own arrogance, rather than an Iranian attack.