Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Iranian General Threatens to “Eliminate” Israel

Gen. Ashtiani (behind microphones) Addressing Reporters
(Fars News Agency)

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Iranian Armed Forces (Artesh), threatened to “eliminate” Israel off the “face of the world” if it took any action against Iran.

“As President [Ahmadinejad] has announced, we have extraordinary incentives to defend our country’s borders, and in case of any action on Israeli part, we are ready to eliminate it off the face of the world.”

The original Persian text read: “haman tour keh rais jomhour elam kard, ma angizeh fogholadeh-i baraye defa az marzhayeh keshvareman darim keh dar sourat hargouneh taharok az soyeh israel, amadeh-im ou ra az sahneh guity hazf konim” [Fars News Agency, in Persian, 15 April 2008].

Gen. Ashtiani made the comments today during a press conference in Tehran.

It is astounding not only that the general should make such comments, but also that he would directly attribute his authority to Ahmadinejad, who himself has been under tremendous pressure for his Israel-will-be-wiped-off-the-map comment.


Mark Pyruz said...

Iran's defense is based on deterrence. This deterrence is not unlike the situation faced by adversaries during the Cold War, in postures of mutually assured destruction. In the present context, Israel repeatedly makes the case for a first strike against Iran, and here the Iranian General responds with language related to a mutually assured destruction.

Personally, it is hoped that during the next administrations that a solution to this cold war will finally be realized.

Joseph Sixpack said...

The General's statement sounds like rhetoric intended to send the message that "my views are aligned with those of the conservatives."

Perhaps there is concern within the regime that those whose views do not align with the conservatives may be purged?

Nader Uskowi said...

Mark, I hope this mutual threats end soon. The level of rhetoric in the past couple of days has become very dangerous. First the Israeli cabinet minister saying Israel would destroy the "Iranian nation" if attacked, and now the Iranian general saying Iran was ready to "eliminate" Israel off the face of the earth if attacked. In that neck of the wood, we do not need that type of rhetoric!

Israel does have nuclear capabilities to back up their mutual destruction strategy. What about Iran? During the cold war, both sides did have same capabilities. Can Iran play that game effectively? Probably not; it should be very careful not to bring a disaster unto itself that can not be responded in kind.

Joseph, I believe the general who made the comments is as conservative as anyone at that rank and position.

Mark Pyruz said...

Nader, we here in the West really don't fully know what the Iranians possess (case in point the surprisingly successful C-802 attack during the 2nd Lebanon War), but what we do know has so far been enough to deter a US-Israeli attack. The Iranians consider Israel and the United States as something of a single entity. They've made it quite clear that an attack by one would bring down a response by Iran upon both Israeli and United States assets in the region.

It should be pointed out that US-Israeli threats of a first strike against Iran have become commonplace, to which Iranian authorities respond with remarks of retaliatory strikes. Sure, the US-Israelis are capable of launching vastly more firepower. However, the Iranians are capable of absorbing this blow in a heroic manner, where the West generally operates its wars under conditions of risk aversion. So far, that risk aversion (which includes both human and economic resources) has been enough to deter an attack upon Iran.