Wiping Israel off the map, forcing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to flee via the sea, threatening Europe with missile capabilities if efforts are made to disarm the Iranian missile program—these are just some of the sentiments expressed in the last year by the new leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami. And all of these sentiments were reported by Iranian media.
The IRGC is a powerful military body in Iran that also wields significant economic influence. The IRGC was recently designated by the United States as a terrorist organization due to their involvement in terrorism around the world.
The Mehr News Agency reported in January that Salami went beyond calling wiping the “Zionist regime”—Iran’s codename for the State of Israel—off the political map as just a dream, stating it was in fact a strategy for Iran. He further warned that if Israel went to war with Iran, Israelis wouldn’t even have a cemetery left to them in “Palestine” to bury their dead.
Those comments came just days prior to Mehr reporting on Salami’s warning that if Europe sought to disarm Iran of its missile capability, Iran would need to take a “strategic leap” in their missile program. This came as he issued a veiled threat at Europe that Iran’s missile range was limited not by technology, but by strategy.
Meanwhile, the Fars News Agency report announcing Salami’s nomination to head the IRGC on Sunday quoted the new IRGC leader as saying last October that Netanyahu needed to learn how to swim in the Mediterranean Sea—apparently alluding to the popular Arab refrain of driving Israel into the sea. Fars quoted Salami as saying that “there is no way for him except fleeing the region.”
However, it’s not as though Salami’s predecessor heading the IRGC, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, was peaceful. The Fars report said that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei instructed Salami to stay the course charted by the former IRGC commander and at least one expert doesn’t expect much to change.
Saeed Ghasseminejad, a senior advisor and financial economist at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), tweeted on Sunday that “Salami replaced Jafari as the new commander of the IRGC. He was Jafari’s deputy for a decade so don’t expect significant differences.”
The nomination of Salami comes at a time when the IRGC is under significant pressure by the US. When the US designated the IRGC as terrorists, the US unleashed a range of sanctions not only on the IRGC, but also on those doing business with them.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a comments published by the State Department regarding the designation, didn’t hold back in his description of the IRGC.
“The IRGC masquerades as a legitimate military organization, but none of us should be fooled. It regularly violates the laws of armed conflict; it plans, organizes, and executes terror campaigns all around the world,” he said.”
The terror designation is one more area where Salami will take offense at the West. According to Press TV—another Iranian news source—he called the US designation “foolish” and in return accused the US of being a primary sponsor of terrorism.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 21, 2019)