Hossein Salami, deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, speaks during Tehran's Friday prayers July 16, 2010..
(photo credit: MORTEZA NIKOUBAZI/ REUTERS)
The deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iran slammed Israel and warned that the Islamic Republic has bases from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.
In comments made public over the weekend, Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami told a forum at the University of Damghan in Semnan province in northern Iran that his forces have bases throughout the Middle East and that Iran was confronting “the Zionists” and Americans in the region.
Speaking at the National Forum for honoring “mujahideen,” which included “jihadist figures from Bahrain and Yemen,” according to Iran’s Al-Alam News Network, the IRGC commander claimed that Iran had emerged victorious from recent conflicts in the Middle East.
“The Zionists know that today any war they start will lead to their being erased. We have bases of the Islamic Revolution from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea,” he said. Hezbollah has become a “nightmare” to Israel, according to Salami. He also pointed to the war in Yemen and said Iran’s Houthi
allies in Yemen “will never die.”
Salami also claimed that Iran was improving its ballistic missiles, noting that “our missile capabilities have grown today in all dimensions as we need high accuracy.” He also said Iran would confront the US economically and defeat the US sanctions that were reimposed on November 5. As evidence for Iran’s ability to get around the sanctions he noted that the US had given eight countries exemptions, allowing them to trade with Iran. This was a victory for Tehran.
“The IRGC is very strong and popular today. It has been formed in Syria alongside the official army, which is not fighting the remnants of the United States,” he said according to a Fars News report. Salami also hinted that in Iraq those who oppose the US presence, including many Iranian-backed allies among Shi’ite militias that are affiliated with the government, could “abide the enemy,” indicating they would wait out the American presence until the US leaves.
The speech charts a course for Iran’s role in the region. It not only shows that Tehran is seeking to construct a corridor of power stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean via Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, but that it also sees the Red Sea as part of its plan.
Over the last two years as the Syrian civil war continued and the war on ISIS led to Iran gaining increasing influence in Iraq and Syria, experts warned about Iran’s “road to the sea.”
This is one of the first speeches in which the IRGC has acknowledged that it has constructed a map of influence and bases across the region, and that those bases are directed at the US and Israel. Combining these details with his detailing of the increasing precision of Tehran’s missile programs, illustrates that Iran is no longer concerned about boasting about the power it wields.
In September and October, Iran launched ballistic missiles at Kurdish opposition groups in Iraq and at ISIS in Syria, showcasing its abilities. In Yemen it continues to improve the missiles of the Houthi rebels that they have been fired at Saudi Arabia.
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