Iranian MP says Tehran will not initiate war but could 'eliminate' Israel

Iranian MP says Tehran will not initiate war but could 'eliminate' Israel
Zolnour burning the US flag in the Iranian parliament / bne IntelliNews
By bne Tehran bureau April 13, 2024

Mojtaba Zonouri, Vice Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, said Iran has no intention of initiating a war but could “eliminate” Israel, quoting the founder of the Islamic Republic, Farda news reported on April 13.

Several days have now passed since the missile strike on Iran's embassy in Damascus, where several senior military officials were killed, including senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The only response so far by Iran is to seize a Portuguese-flagged ship in the Persian Gulf believed to be carrying Israeli cargo. Meanwhile, several airlines have paused flights to Iran as tensions continue. 

"We do not intend to initiate a war, but we will eliminate the Zionist entity (Israel)," the official said, referring to the quote of Ruhollah Khomeini in the 1980s.

"The Zionists (Israel) have only one strategy for survival, and that is to provoke a war with Iran to garner global support," Zonouri, a mid-ranking cleric, said in a speech to the press. 

He added that Iran will uphold its right to seek revenge and will retaliate at the most opportune moment but failed to comment on how Tehran would hit back.

In his speech, the MP for the religious city of Qom did not comment on the ship taken earlier on April 13. 

The National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member noted the changed regional influence of the Islamic Republic compared to past times when the King of Iran (Shah) was considered a protector of American interests in the Gulf.

The official added that the objectives of the "Greater Middle East" strategy, which aimed to sideline the Islamic Republic and promote Israel as a central power, have been effectively countered by Iran's role in Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, and Lebanon.

Addressing the "Deal of the Century," the official criticised its potential impact on the Palestinian cause, suggesting that recent conflicts in Gaza were necessary to prevent the permanent sidelining of Palestinian interests.

Despite previous Western support for the deal, he noted a shift in attitude, with Western countries now reluctant to openly back Israel.

He echoed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s comments that Hamas has significant untapped military potential and reaffirmed Iran's right to determine the timing and targets of any retaliatory actions.