Words from Tehran about wiping Israel off the map have been launched with abandon in recent weeks. Here's another one for the lexicon. This time from Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Shirazi, representative for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the Qods Force, who not only reiterated the bombastic threat but also added his own twist: that Iran can do the job in just 24 hours.
Specifically, he said all Iran needs is “24 hours and an excuse” to finish off the Jewish state. The Jerusalem Post reports on the interview:
In his first public interview in a year, reported in the Persian-language Jahan News, which is close to the regime, Shirazi said if Israel attacked Iran, the Islamic Republic would be able to turn the conflict into a war of attrition that would lead to Israel’s destruction.
“If such a war does happen, it would not be a long war, and it would benefit the entire Islamic umma [the global community of Muslims]. We have expertise in fighting wars of attrition and Israel cannot fight a war of attrition,” Shirazi said, referring to Iran’s eight-year war of attrition against Iraq.
Iran’s Qods Force is a unit of the Revolutionary Guard that aims to export the Islamic Revolution worldwide, and is reported to be active in the Middle East, Asia and South America. Last year the U.S. accused its operatives of working on a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
The Post reports that Khamenei tapped Shirazi last year as his personal envoy to the Qods Force:
In his interview, Shirazi said that Israel was “close to annihilation” and wanted to attack Iran as an act of desperation.
“Are our enemies intelligent, wise or foolish? They are foolish. It’s also possible that they will do this foolish thing [and attack Iran]. Why do we sometimes say this is the strongest probability? Because today the Israelis are telling us that ‘we are not the Israel of yesterday, we are getting weaker day by day and the Islamic Republic is getting stronger day by day,’” he added.
"Well, when Israel finds itself in danger of extinction, it flails around, and so it’s easy for it to do foolish things and will start a war just to sting Iran.”
Shirazi is in good company. Other statements in just the past week from Iranian leaders in the same spirit as Shirazi's include: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s assertion that Israel has no historical roots in the Middle East and will be “eliminated,” Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari saying a conflict between Iran and Israel will destroy the Jewish state – “the end of the story for them,” and Brigadier General Hossein Salami of the Revolutionary Guard saying a war will provide “a historical opportunity for the Islamic Revolution to wipe them [Israel] off the world’s geographical history.”
All this means we're unlikely to hear such statements cease anytime soon.