Head of Iranian Air Force Vows to ‘Eliminate’ Israel

Tuesday, 22 January, 2019 - 10:45
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

The head of Iran’s air force, Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, has warned that Tehran is ready to “confront” and “eliminate” Israel. The commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) issued a provocative statement to the Young Journalist Club news agency, according Iranian media.

“The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth,” he said. “Our future generations are learning required know-how for the promised day to destroy Israel,” he added. His fighting words come after Israel launched air raids on Iranian targets inside Syria.

He stressed that Iran’s high level of military preparedness has deterred the country’s enemies from attacking the cleric-led country.

Nasirzadeh’s remarks came in contrast to recent statements made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the French weekly, Le Point, in which he denied Iranian officials calling for the annihilation of Israel.

Zarif’s comments stoked hatred among Iran’s Revolutionary Guard media and the country’s ultra-conservatives.

More so, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said Iran will keep military forces in Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli forces would continue to attack Iranians in Syria and warned them “to get out of there fast, because we will continue with our resolute policy”.

Rebuffing the threats, Jafari was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will keep all its military and revolutionary advisers and its weapons in Syria.” Jafari called Netanyahu’s threats “a joke”, and warned that the Israeli government “was playing with (a) lion’s tail.”

The Israeli-Iranian escalation coincides with the deepening of Iranian fears of a military strike against Iran, especially after the US administration's call for a summit on the Middle East aimed at ensuring that Iran is deterred as a regional threat.

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