Washington, Aug. 16 — Iranian leaders have been ratcheting up their anti-Israel rhetoric this week, with the Islamic republic’s top Supreme Leader calling for Israel’s annihilation.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, "the fake Zionist (regime) will disappear from the landscape of geography,” according to The Jerusalem Post. "The light of hope will shine on the Palestinian issue, and this Islamic land will certainly be returned to the Palestinian nation," Khamenei said.
The genocidal statements come just ahead of al-Quds Day, an event Iran created in 1979 that calls for the destruction of Israel. Al-Quds Day falls on the last Friday of Ramadan; this year it takes place tomorrow (Friday). The Shiite event has spread to Bahrain, south Lebanon and Pakistan.
Also this week, Brig.-Gen. Gholamreza Jalali, a former Revolutionary Guards commander, said Palestine could only be liberated by destroying Israel. Al-Quds Day, he said, “is an expression of the fact that there is no other way but to stand firm and resist until Israel is destroyed.".
An Israeli government official said Jalali’s statements were “not an aberration,” but instead a "reaffirmation of what we continually hear from the Iranian leadership."
Israel, the official said, takes such comments seriously, as should others. "The Iranians use unequivocal language, and their words speak for themselves.”
Members of the Iranian regime have for years publicly espoused statements saying Israel should be “wiped off the map.”
Iran is the only country in the United Nations that has called for the destruction of another member-country. Iran has denied the Holocaust and trains, funds and arms proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon, refuses to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to its nuclear facilities and may have enough material for at least five nuclear weapons, according to a recent report.
Iranian Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi said this week that Iran would annihilate the Israel Defense Forces were Israel to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.