by: Joshua Spurlock
Monday, 16 December 2019 | Lebanon has long been known as a proxy for Iran, but an Iranian general not only threatened to wipe out Tel Aviv if Israel threatened Iran, but said Iran could do it all from Lebanon. The Mizan website quoted Brigadier General Morteza Qorbani last Tuesday as saying, ” If the Zionist regime [Israel] makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon,” according to a report by Asharq al-Awsat. Furthermore, the Arab news service said that Qorbani went on to say that Iran wouldn’t need to launch any missiles at all from their own country to accomplish that feat.
Yet just one day later, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps [IRGC] came out and claimed the quote was misinterpreted and that the Iranian general was simply trying to say that Iran had various capabilities to counterattack against Israel, according to the Mehr News Agency.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the denial as irrelevant in making a counter threat of his own. “In recent days we have heard a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander again threaten that Iran will destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon. He thus reveals a simple truth: Hezbollah is simply Iran’s arm in Lebanon against Israel,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office.
“Even though [Lebanese Hezbollah’s leader Hasan] Nasrallah immediately denied the senior Iranian commander’s remarks, I would like to make it clear that if Nasrallah dares to attack Israel, the organization and the Lebanese state that enable aggression from its territory against us will pay a very heavy price.”
The Iranian backtrack on Qorbani’s comments came after Lebanese officials condemned the statements, with Asharq al-Awsat [Arabic international newspaper headquartered in London] quoting Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab describing the threat to strike Israel from Lebanon as a “violation” of Lebanon’s sovereignty.
Mehr said IRGC spokesman Second Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif not only tried to reframe the other general’s words, he also denied that Qorbani was an assistant of the IRGC’s commander to try and minimize his role.
Meanwhile, Lebanon isn’t the only country where Iran is meddling. The United States last week issued a statement on Iran’s involvement in attacks in Iraq that injured multiple Iraqi soldiers. The statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday noted the rocket attacks by Iranian proxies came against bases where US forces are co-located with Iraqi security forces.
Pompeo, whose comments were published by the State Department, went on to warn Iran not to harm US or allied forces.
“We must also use this opportunity to remind Iran’s leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive US response,” said Pompeo.
“Iran must respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and immediately cease its provision of lethal aid and support to third parties in Iraq and throughout the region.”
Posted on December 16, 2019
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 15, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
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