An Iranian official closely tied to Iran’s Supreme Leader says that the Iranian government has “divine permission to destroy Israel.”
Mojtaba Zolnour, who represents the Ayatollah Kahmenei in the Revolutionary Guards, said, “The Noble Koran permits the Islamic Republic of Iran to destroy Israel," according to the Iranian news agency Fars.
Zolnour also made it clearthis is a goal of Iran whether or not it has nuclear weapons. “Even if Iran gives up its nuclear program, it will not weaken this country’s determination to destroy Israel,” he was quoted as saying by the Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya.
Meanwhile, Iran has issued a warning to the U.S. and Saudi-led coalition fighting Iranian-proxy militias trying to take over Yemen against interfering with an Iranian aid ship bound for Yemen being escorted by the Iranian navy.
There is currently a five-day humanitarian cease-fire in effect in Yemen which began on Tuesday.
The Iranian ship is bound for the port city of Hodeida. American is closely monitoring the ship and pointedly questioned why a naval escort is necessary for an aid ship. Further, U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren asked why the ship was not being sent to the port city of Djibouti, the distribution point for all humanitarian aid.
In Washington, Warren warned the Iranians against "planning some sort of stunt."
Al Arabiya reported that the military spokesman for Saudi Arabia, Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Asiri, said that no ship would be permitted to reach Yemen unless there was prior coordination with the coalition, and that if Iran wants to deliver humanitarian aid it should do so through the United Nations.
Iranian General Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy chief of staff, countered that if the ship is blocked, it will “spark a fire.”
"I bluntly declare that the self-restraint of Islamic Republic of Iran is not limitless," he added.
As Iran’s expansionist policies continue in Yemen, the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal grows closer. In his first interview with an Arab newspaper, U.S. President Barack Obama, the primary architect and promoter of the nuclear agreement with Iran, labelled Iran as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”
Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, Obama said, “Iran clearly engages in dangerous and destabilizing behavior in different countries across the region. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. It helps prop up the Assad regime in Syria. It supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It aids the Houthi rebels in Yemen. So countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iran’s activities, especially its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations.”