An official close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei asserted that his government has a godly ordained right to annihilate Israel, Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday.
The “government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has divine permission to destroy Israel,” said Mojtaba Zolnour, a Khamenei representative in the elite Revolutionary Guards.
According to semi-official state news agency Fars, Zolnour said that, “the Noble Koran permits the Islamic Republic of Iran to destroy Israel.” He added that, “Even if Iran gives up its nuclear program, it will not weaken this country’s determination to destroy Israel.”
This is by no means the first time that Iranian political or military officials have threatened Israel with destruction.
Iran has raised the specter of “wiping Israel out of existence,” since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in the country in 1979. Khomeini’s animosity towards Israel was based on an ideological and religious opposition to Zionism, amplified by the challenge Israel’s military and economic strength posed to Iranian regional expansionism.
Perhaps most famously, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” in a 2005 speech that he gave. More recently, in late March 2015, General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of Iran’s Basij militia – a volunteer paramilitary organization under the command of the IRGC – said that, “wiping Israel off the map is not up for negotiation.”
Iran also actively finances and militarily backs proxy terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah that are ideologically opposed to Israel’s existence.