In an apparent retort to recent warnings by Mossad Director David Barnea, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps boasted Thursday that should Israel threaten Iran’s security, its “life will be cut short.”
“The Zionists are grappling with many problems, and signs of their decline are evident. Thus, they have resorted to empty rhetoric and threats to assassinate our commanders,” Major General Hossein Salami said in comments carried by multiple Iranian outlets, including Tasnim and Press TV.
“Go ahead if your previous assassination operations have increased your security. However, you should know that if you make threats against [Iran’s] security, we will have more options and your life will be cut short.”
Barnea warned Iran’s leaders Sunday that they would pay a direct price if Israelis or Jews are harmed in what he said was an ongoing, significantly stepped-up, state-organized Iranian terror effort worldwide.
He said the terror campaign was being carried out in accordance with a “political directive by the leader” — an apparent reference to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — and threatened the Iranian leadership in response.
“Fortunately for Iran, their terror efforts have been thwarted,” Barnea said. “Why fortunately for them? Because thus far we have only got to the operatives and those who dispatched them.” If Israelis or Jews are harmed, however, he warned, Israel’s response would go all the way to “the highest echelon.”
Salami on Thursday went on to assert that the US too was in decline, and “the war in Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq showed that the military option is no longer a solution for them.
“They cannot even provide full support for the Zionist regime, and this inability has turned into an unwillingness to some extent,” he said.
Iranian media, reporting on the comments, noted US President Joe Biden’s apparent reluctance to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the latter reentered office late last year.
Speaking to the country’s “cyberspace activists” — apparently individuals involved in cyber warfare, Salami said Iran’s enemies “are seeking to have their satanic values supersede divine values. They are the soldiers of the devil and you are the soldiers of Allah.”
He went on: “Today, jihad bands are shining on the foreheads of the youth of all Islamic countries, and their steps are firm and their hearts are full of the light of faith in the truth of a glorious revolution. In front of this glory and greatness, the enemy is inactive, marginalized, inefficient, depressed, worried and disappointed.”
In his remarks at an annual conference of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism Policy (ICT) at Reichman University in Herzliya, Barnea revealed that the Mossad and its allies in the international intelligence community had foiled 27 Iranian attacks against Jews and Israelis abroad over the past year. He also declared that Israel would exact “a different” price from Iran if Israelis or Jews were harmed, including by targeting the “decision-makers” behind the attacks and by hitting back “in the heart of Tehran.”
“The squads that were captured, the weapons that were seized together with them, all had clear targets,” he said, noting that the attempts occurred “all over the world, in Europe, Africa, the Far East and South America.”
“All this under the direction and guidance of Iran. We are witnessing a significant increase in attempts to harm Jews and Israelis around the world, and we are working even now at this very moment to follow Iranian and proxy squads to prevent them from killing Jews and Israelis around the world,” Barnea said.
He said that “the time has come to exact a price from Iran in a different way,” and elaborated: “Harming Israelis and Jews in any way — by proxy, by Iranians, or by Iranian weapons smuggled into Israel — will lead to activity against the Iranians who sent the terrorists and also against the decision-makers, from the ground operators to the commanders who approved the operation, to the highest echelon, and I mean that,” he said.
“These prices will be exacted with great precision in the depths of Iran, in the heart of Tehran.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) staged a major long-range strike drill in Greece this week, the latest in a series of drills aimed at preparing the military for a potential strike on Iran and its nuclear facilities.
The Israeli military said Thursday that the joint two-day-long drill with the Hellenic Air Force included long-range flights, aerial refueling, low-altitude flights and the use of live fire.
During the drill, dozens of IAF fighter jets, as well as spy planes and refueling aircraft, flew thousands of kilometers from Israel to Greece and back, the Israel Defense Forces said.