The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force has said the country will “accelerate the destruction of Israel and all its enemies”, according to the semi-official Nour News Agency.
Quds commander Esmail Qaani is reported to have said Itan will harshly confront Israel "wherever it feels necessary".
In March, Tehran targeted what it called "secret Israeli bases" during a missile attack on Iraq's northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil. The assault was meant to avenge Israeli air strikes that killed Iranian military personnel in Syria.
"Wherever we identify a Zionist threat, we will harshly confront them, they are too small to confront us," said Qaani, whose unit is in control of the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations.
The commander pledged to support any group that fights the "Zionist regime" and added that "the destruction of this regime is gaining ground."
Tensions deepened at a time when Iran and world powers were engaged in talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which Israel opposes.
Ghaani was speaking on Thursday (April 14) - the first anniversary of the death of Mohammad Hejazi , the deputy of the Quds Force of the IRGC in Tehran.
Two days earlier, Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei had said "the expansion of Iran’s strategic depth and spiritual influence in the region have turned the Islamic Republic into an attractive role model.”
The comments prompted more than 500 prominent Iranian American scholars to sign an open letter to US President Joe Biden calling on the administration to keep the Iranian regime’s IRGC on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).
This initiative was spearheaded by the Iranian Professionals’ Ad Hoc Committee on Iran Policy. Most of the signatories are supporters of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the ten-point plan of the Iranian opposition leader and NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi.
The letter emphasizes that the IRGC is Tehran’s instrument to fuel and expand terrorism abroad while imposing harsh crackdown measures on the Iranian people across the country.
Prominent Iranian American scientists, scholars, professors, physicians, industry executives professionals, and successful entrepreneurs, highlight the fact that “removing IRGC from the FTO list will project blatant disregard for the hope and legitimate struggle of Iranians for freedom and dignity.”