(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
BEIRUT - Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital will hasten the country's destruction, Iran's defense minister said Monday.
Leaders of Iran, where opposition to Israel and support for the Palestinian cause has been central to foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic revolution, have denounced last week's announcement by the US president, including a plan to move the US embassy to the city.
The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
"(Trump's) step will hasten the destruction of the Zionist regime and will double the unity of Muslims," Iran's defense minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, said on Monday, according to state media.
The army's chief of staff, General Mohammad Baqeri, said Trump's "foolish move" could be seen as the beginning of a new intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
Iran has long supported a number of anti-Israeli militant groups, including the military wing of Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which the deputy commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, said was "stronger than the Zionist regime."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday stepped up efforts to rally Middle Eastern countries against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which EU foreign ministers meanwhile declined to support.