Senior Iranian military official threatens to fire 80,000 rockets at Haifa and Tel Aviv


A top-ranking Iranian military official threatened Wednesday to fire tens of thousands of rockets at Israeli cities. Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s top military aide and a former commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted as saying, "The Zionists and the US are aware of the power of Iran and Hezbollah, and they know that over 80,000 (Iranian) missiles are ready to rain down on Tel Aviv and Haifa; Iran is a powerful country which will give a crushing response to them.” In his statements, he reminded his listeners that Khamenei has previously warned that if Israel makes a “silly move,” “we will ruin Haifa and Tel Aviv.” The Israel Defense Forces have assessed that Iran's proxy Hezbollah has an arsenal of over 100,000 rockets, hundreds of which are capable of hitting anywhere within Israel.

Iranian media distorted comments made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at a conference on May 5. At the conference, Ya’alon said, in response to Hezbollah building infrastructure amongst civilians in southern Lebanese villages, “If we don’t intercept the rocket-launchers in advance, civilians will be hurt, if not killed. If we hit the launchers, it will hurt or kill Lebanese civilians.” He said that Israeli defense officials had a “long, deep discussion” about the “moral and legal considerations” of this matter. Iranian media, however, misquoted Ya’alon as saying that Israel was intending to “hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family.”

This is only the latest Iranian threat against Israel.  On April 1, the day before the announcement of the Lausanne understanding between Iran and the P5+1 powers, Commander Mohammad Neza Naghdi, the head of the Basij paramilitary force, said, “The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable and the freedom of Palestine is one of our highest priorities.” Last November, Supreme Leader Khamenei tweeted, “This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated.”


The sanctions relief accompanying a potential nuclear deal with Iran will result in significant financial benefits to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to research published Wednesday in The National Interest. The study is by Emanuele Ottolenghi and Saeed Ghasseminejad, respectively a senior fellow and an associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Ottolenghi and Ghasseminejad came to their conclusion by using the stock market valuations of Iranian companies to estimate how much of Iran's economy is controlled by Khamenei and the IRGC.

Ottolenghi and Ghasseminejad used strict criteria of ownership to reach their conclusion. However, they pointed out that even companies that don't meet their standards for being owned by Khamenei or the IRGC may still effectively be controlled by them. They also observed that the vast assets Khamenei and the IRGC control are not traded on the Tehran stock exchange, so using the stock market as an indicator of their share of Iran's economy probably understates how much of the economy they control.

Knowing the extent of Khamenei and the IRGC's involvement in the economy is important, they wrote, "especially for those who believe that any coming postsanctions boom will diversify Iran’s politics and strengthen the ever-elusive Iranian party of moderation." (via The Tower)


Professor Rivka Carmi, President of Ben Gurion University, is set to be honored by Queen Elizabeth II for her work to deepen scientific and academic relations between the UK and Israel. Carmi, the first woman to serve as president of an Israeli university, will receive an appointment of an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). “I am thrilled to accept this honor which recognizes the increasing links between the UK and Israel, especially in science,” said Carmi. “We are committed to improving the health of all nations and sharing our scientific discoveries." Carmi, a stem-cell scientist, is being honored for her collaboration with H.E. Matthew Gould, outgoing British Ambassador to Israel, and Oxford don Prof. Raymond Dwek. She and Gould have been the founding co-chairs of the UK Israel Science Council since its establishment in 2010. “Her leadership and commitment to strengthen science collaboration between our countries has made a huge difference,” said Gould. “Britain is lucky to have her as a friend.” (via Israel21c)

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