Washington, Aug. 25 - Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has again threatened to destroy Israel, even as his government tries to prop up the murderous regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and presses ahead with its nuclear weapons program.
“Iran believes that whoever is for humanity should also be for eradicating the Zionist regime (Israel) as symbol of suppression and discrimination," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with a Lebanese television network. His remarks were later publicized by an Iranian news agency.
The statement came a day after the European Union expanded sanctions against Syria to target an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard for its role in helping Syrian security forces crush the five-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in which the government has killed at least 2,200 people.
An EU statement said Iran's elite Quds Force has provided "technical assistance, equipment and other support to the Syrian security forces to repress civilian protest movements."
Ahmadinejad tied the Syrian situation to Israel, saying that the bloodshed against demonstrators “serves Zionist interests.”
Also this week, the U.S. State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, , which provides an overview of terrorism for the previous calendar year.
Iran "remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2010," the State Department reported. "Iran's financial, material, and logistic support for terrorist and militant groups throughout the Middle East and Central Asia had a direct impact on international efforts to promote peace, threatened economic stability in the Gulf, and undermined the growth of democracy."The State Department noted: "Iran's Quds Force provided training to the Taliban in Afghanistan on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons, such as mortars, artillery, and rockets."
While threatening Israel and helping crush pro-democracy demonstrations in Syria, Iran is still defying the international community on its nuclear program. Iranian Vice-President and nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi was quoted by state television as saying that the country was moving some of its centrifuges, used to enrich nuclear material to weapons-grade levels, underground, bringing them out of international scrutiny and protecting such facilities from air attacks.