Feb 22, 2008

More Iranian Leaders Threaten Israel’s Demise


Iranian leaders continued their verbal assault on Israel on Thursday, as the top military advisor to the supreme Ayatollah charged that the anger of young Hizbullah fighters over the death of their military commander Imad Mughniyeh would soon bring about “the certain death of the Zionist regime."

General Yahya Rahim Safavi insisted that the fury within Hizbullah’s ranks has “brought forward" Israel’s demise, according to the IRNA news service. Safavi blamed Israel for last week’s apparent assassination of Mughniyeh, while also accusing the United States and “one Arab nation” of helping carry it out, reported Ynetnews.

The speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Gholam Hadad, also warned in an interview published in an Iranian newspaper on Thursday that the "countdown to Israel's destruction has begun.”

The hostile comments were the latest in a series of bellicose remarks against Israel by senior Iranian officials since Mughniyeh’s death, including charges by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week that Israel is a “filthy bacteria” and “savage beast” that will soon be eliminated. Last week, another Iranian military commander called Israel a “cancerous growth” that would soon disappear.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman protested the “Nazi-like” rhetoric in an urgent meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday, who afterwards expressed his "outrage" over the “unacceptable and unforgivable” statements emanating from Tehran.

Ban agreed to meet Gillerman on short notice and the Israeli envoy pressed him on the need for a "quick and strong" resolution to prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions.

Meanwhile, Iran countered at the UN on Wednesday by urging the Security Council to condemn Israel and demand that it immediately stop threatening to use military force against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. In a letter to the council, Iran's UN Ambassador Muhammad Khazee referred to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's warning on January 14 that all options were on the table when it came to keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Khazee insisted in the letter that Iran's nuclear program was peaceful, and called Israel's threats "unacceptable and unjustifiable.”