First Published: 2006-07-31

Top Iran general hopes to avenge Muslim deaths

’I ask God to arouse the dignity of Muslims and destroy America, Israel and their associates,’ says General Safavi.


Middle East Online

Strong statement

TEHRAN - The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Sunday he hoped the Islamic republic could one day "avenge the blood of innocent people in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan".

"We have to keep this sacred hatred of the enemies of Islam alive in our hearts until the time of revenge comes," General Yahya Rahim Safavi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

"I hope our nation can one day avenge the blood of innocent people in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan," he said, adding: "I ask God to arouse the dignity of Muslims and destroy America, Israel and their associates."

His comments came the day of an Israeli strike that killed 52 people - more than half of them children - in the village of Qana, the deadliest attack in its near three-week offensive against Lebanon.

"I ask God that the crimes and atrocities of Zionists hasten the annihilation of this regime. Hezbollah and Lebanese people are invincible and this cancerous tumor... should die," he added, calling on "clerical leaders in the Islamic world (to) clarify the duty of Muslims against Israel."

The Revolutionary Guards Corps was set up in the wake of the 1979 revolution to defend the Islamic republic from "internal and external threats" and played a leading role in the 1980-88 war with Iraq. It is believed to number several hundred thousand troops.

The force is now one of Iran's most powerful institutions, and under direct command of the supreme leader.

Since Israel launched its war on Hezbollah on July 12, Tehran has stepped up its war of words with its arch-enemy.

Shiite Muslim-dominated Iran is also Hezbollah's main international supporter, although the Islamic republic insists it only provides "moral support" to the movement.

Other Iranian officials meanwhile called for US and Israeli leaders to be prosecuted for "crimes against humanity".

"The United States and the supporters of the Zionist regime are undoubtedly responsible for this savage terrorist catastrophe," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said of the Qana strike.

"The UN Security Council must stop the Zionists' crimes in Palestine and Lebanon, and put them on trial immediately for crimes against humanity," the ISNA news agency quoted him saying.

The United States, he argued, had effectively given "the green light" for the attack during an international conference in Rome on the Lebanon conflict on Wednesday.

"Zionist regime officials as well as some US statesmen should be put on trial," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also told reporters.

But he meanwhile repeated Iran's denial of allegations it is financing and arming Hezbollah.

"We have not and will not send forces to Lebanon," Asefi said. "We have not provided the Lebanese resistance with arms. We are very transparent: our aid is political and humanitarian."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meanwhile fumed that it was "clear that international organisations have become a tool in the hand of domineering powers" -- in a fresh attack against the UN Security Council.

Iran is under mounting Security Council pressure, with the world body poised to pass a resolution demanding that Tehran suspend its controversial nuclear programme and threatening possible sanctions if it refuses.

"Britain, the planner of this sinister regime, and the US, the unconditional supporter of this regime, are both responsible," Ahmadinejad said of Western support for the "fake, illegitimate and usurper" state of Israel.


Tunisia under state of emergency

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey

Tunisia group claims beheading of young shepherd on behalf of ISIS

Kerry arrives in Abu Dhabi for Syria discussions

Three Palestinians killed as fresh violence hits West Bank

Iran arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

Brussels remains on high alert for second day in a row

Israel seeks to strip citizenship of those who join ISIS

France warns Libya as ISIS gains ground

Fear escalates as ISIS edges closer to Syria Christian town

Iran sentences reporter Jason Rezaian to prison

Egyptians vote in second phase of parliamentary elections

Assad grateful to Russia as army advances on ‘nearly every front’

Obama calls for resolve in face of terrorist threats

Russia bombs ISIS in heaviest strikes since beginning of Syria war

ISIS claims deadly attack on Iraq Shiite mosque

Iran Revolutionary Guard simulate capture of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Turkey-backed Syria rebels seize two border villages from ISIS

Israel shuts down second Palestinian radio station