Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke with NBC News’ Ann Curry this week:
Curry: The supreme leader seven months ago tweeted: “This barbaric wolf-like and infanticidal regime of Israel which spares no crime, has no cure but to be annihilated.”
Zarif: “Because this is a regime – we’re talking about Mr. Netanyahu….It should be annihilated. That this regime is a threat….He has a record full of infanticide.”
Iran Flexes New Clout Beyond Its Borders
The Islamic Republic of Iran now claims an arc of influence that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. In Iraq, Iranians coordinate 100,000 Iraqi fighters mobilized by Iranian-allied clerics to confront Islamic State.
In Yemen, a Shiite movement styled on Hizbullah, a group Iran midwifed in Lebanon, ousted the Yemeni president and the government with the help of Iranian-provided weapons and money.
In Syria, Iranian military advisers help defend President Assad by coordinating Hizbullah fighters from Lebanon, Shiite militias from Iraq and fighters from Afghanistan.
Iran’s Hunger for Regional Hegemony
Iran’s leadership does not hide its aspiration to expand and export its revolution to the region. Its fingerprints are everywhere. Iran is directly fighting in Syria and Iraq, and has proxies in Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen and elsewhere. It also has a presence in Sudan.
The Iranian regime imitates the old Soviet model by supporting what it calls “liberation movements in the Third World.” Tehran is always on the offensive.
Saudi Arabia believes that the Middle East cannot calm down except by cutting Iran’s role down to size and preventing it from continuing to meddle in its neighbors’ affairs. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt have been the focal states in confronting the threat of terrorism, forming an Arab front that stands up to all of Iran’s attempts to impose Persian hegemony and secure Persian expansion in the region.
Iran Gains Influence in Iraq as Shiite Forces Fight ISIS
The road from Baghdad to Tikrit is dotted with security checkpoints, many festooned with posters of Iran’s supreme leader. More openly than ever before, Iran’s powerful influence in Iraq has been on display as the counteroffensive against Islamic State militants around Tikrit has unfolded in recent days. At every point, the Iranian-backed militias have taken the lead in the fight against the Islamic State. Senior Iranian leaders have been openly helping direct the battle.