The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group on Wednesday weighed in on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in Israeli elections, saying it would likely herald even closer ties between Israel and the United States.
In a speech honoring the Iranian-backed organization’s wounded fighters, Hassan Nasrallah also ripped the US designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps military organization as a terror group, a move that came on the eve of the Israeli elections
“Netanyahu will likely form a new right-wing Zionist government and we are before a new stage of unprecedented cooperation between America and Israel represented in Netanyahu and [US President Donald] Trump,” Nasrallah was quoted saying by Lebanese news site Naharnet.
He added, cryptically, that “we are before a major juncture related to our territorial border.”
Nasrallah also said the election results did not make a difference to him and “if we wanted to influence them, we could’ve done this,” according to Israel’s Ynet news site.
Though he did not weigh in directly on the election results, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed the US blacklisting of the IRGC as a ploy to help Netanyahu at the polls.
“The Israeli prime minister clearly stated that this action by the US has been taken at his request, in other words, all crimes and improper actions by the US have been meant to (help) someone win the elections in the occupied territories,” he said, according to Iran’s Tasnim news outlet.
Netanyahu said Trump had labeled the IRGC a foreign terrorist group at his request, which Iranian officials have seized on as proof the move was meant to boost the Israeli premier.
In a separate statement, the IRGC threatened to “give the enemies unforgettable, regrettable lessons,” according to the regime’s IRNA news site.
Nasrallah for his part called the US decision to designate the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization “stupidity” and warned that the group and its allies may respond to further escalation.
Nasrallah said the Trump administration’s decision reflects the “failure” of its policies in the region and confirms the growing influence of, and support for, the Iranian group.
The IRGC is the main backer for Hezbollah, which plays an influential role in the Lebanese government and has already been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the US.
It is the first time that Washington has designated an entity of another government as a terrorist organization. Nasrallah said the move set a “precedent.”
Speaking to his supporters in a speech broadcast on a large screen in Beirut, Nasrallah said “So far we have not reacted. … This doesn’t mean we have no important power cards.”
He said if there were to be an escalation from Washington against the group and its allies that “threatens our people, nation and our principle issues,” simply issuing a condemnation of US actions would not suffice. A confrontation, then, would be a “duty” in all the fronts that the US has targeted, he said. He did not elaborate.
“Our hands are open and our options are also open,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has received support from Iran, vowed it would continue to fight against Israel regardless of the election result.