As the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas faction is escalating and rockets are hitting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Iran announced Friday that its missiles were being used against the Jewish state.
Rockets hit Tel Aviv Thursday for the first time since the 1991 Persian Gulf War when Iraqi scuds threatened the city. On Friday, Jerusalem also came under rocket fire from Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
According to a source in the Revolutionary Guards intelligence division, Iran has large stockpiles of chemical and microbial weapons and it has armed the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah with them. It also has Quds Forces in Gaza and other Palestinian territories to help Hamas and Islamic Jihad in setting up underground rocket facilities while training and supervising the Palestinians in launching attacks on Israel.
The escalation of the Gaza conflict was ordered by the highest authority in Iran, the source added, and rockets targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are in fact a warning to Israel that its Iron Dome missile defense system cannot thwart Iran’s ballistic missiles and tens of thousands of rockets and missiles in the hands of Hezbollah.
On the day that the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran is set to sharply expand its uranium enrichment in an underground site after installing all the centrifuges it was built for, the message was clear: An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will have destructive consequences for Israel.
The missiles fired by the Islamic Jihad that hit Tel Aviv were Iranian Fajr 5 missiles, according to the Islamic regime’s media outlet Nimrooz, which is close to Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the mayor of Tehran and a possible candidate for president.
The outlet cited a recent quote by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic regime: “From now onward, we will support and help any nation, any groups fighting against the Zionist regime across the world, and we are not afraid of declaring this.”
The outlet said targeting the capital of the “Zionist regime” with this advanced technology is a big victory for the Palestinians and the resistance front — Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.
It quoted anonymous military analysts that the Fajr 5 has the longest range compared to other missiles launched from Gaza and then warned that Israel should expect bigger surprises. And the Fars news agency, the media outlet for the Revolutionary Guards, said Friday that 20,000 Basij forces are prepared to fight alongside the Hamas militants, even as Israel called up thousands of reserves for a possible ground operation.
Last month an Iranian drone launched by Hezbollah was shot down over Israel. The Islamic regime claimed that the drone flew hundreds of kilometers into Israeli airspace and got very close to the Dimona nuclear plant. It also claimed that the regime now possesses images of Israel’s sensitive sites.
As reported in August, an alarming commentary by Mashregh, a media outlet for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, claimed that Iran not only has WMDs but has armed its terrorist proxies with them.
The commentary recalled the doctrine of the founder of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: “If they stand against our religion, we will stand against their world. … If all this bloodshed is to provide a better future for Israel, we will destroy their world.”
Mashregh said that in an all-out confrontation with Israel, “groups armed with weapons of mass destruction will surely target Tel Aviv.”
Iranian analysts believe America does not wish a confrontation with Iran and that Israel is on its own. President Obama in his press conference on Wednesday stated that there is still time for a diplomatic solution on Iran’s nuclear program and again reiterated that Iran can enjoy “peaceful nuclear power.”
But Friday’s IAEA quarterly report demonstrates that the Islamic regime is continuing its headlong approach to building nuclear weapons.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).