(photo credit: IRANIAN MEDIA)
Iranian officials have been thrown into a fit over distorted comments attributed to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon that have swept across the internet and include popular anti-Israel sites.
A report by Iran's Fars news agency on Wednesday claimed that the defense minister supposedly said “We are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future,” while speaking at an unnamed "conference in Jerusalem."
The quote was most likely based on Ya'alon's comments from the May 5 Shurat Hadin conference
. He was recounting targeting decisions in which he was involved when it first became apparent that Hezbollah was purposely placing weapons in civilian homes in Lebanon. He said that “If we don’t intercept the rocket-launchers in advance, civilians will be hurt, if not killed. If we hit the launchers, it will hurt or kill Lebanese civilians.” He said a “long, deep discussion” regarding the “moral and legal considerations” took place before the final decision to strike the rocket launcher.
Another quote attributed to Ya'alon, for which a basis could not be found, claimed that Israel would act "as the Americans did in 'Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end the fatalities of 200,000.'"
In response, Iranian Major General Rahim Safavi threatened Israel with violence, saying that "the Zionists and the US are aware of the power of Iran and Hezbollah, and they know that over 80,000 (Iranian) missiles are ready to rain down on Tel Aviv and Haifa."
"We have displayed part of our military capabilities while we have kept many of our achievements and capabilities hidden to outsiders," a comment which comes just a month after P5+1 countries agreed to a framework deal with Iran. "Our response will be crushing not just to the Zionist regime, but to any other aggressor who intends to take action against us."
Iran's UN envoy Gholam Ali Khoshrou also mistook the exaggerated statements for real and issued a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. "Moshe Ya'alon's recent remarks and the Zionist official's implied reference to the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the Islamic Republic like what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and also his threats against the Lebanese civilians, including the women and children, shows more than ever the regime's aggressive nature."
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.