Iranian threats against Israel continue: Iranian media outlets published sections of interviews given by Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad-Reza Sheybani, who said that Hizbullah's military capability has greatly increased in the last decade, and threatened that if Israel harmed Syria, the Iranians would respond with force.
Sheybani stressed that Iran would support Syria if it is attacked by Israel. "There should be no doubt on this issue: If Syria is harmed, even in the slightest way, we will respond with force. This, on the basis of the joint defense agreement in effect between the two countries and already signed by the two ministers of defense," he said.
Sheybani added that he thought "Israel did not have the ability to deal with Iran's capabilities."
The Iranian news agency Fars, closely associated with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, published parts of the interview, and reported that Sheybani denied that his country was transferring arms to Hizbullah, but said that the organization has been busy heavily arming itself since the IDF's withdrawal from Lebanon.
"There are those who ask whether Hizbullah's military ability compares with that of Israel. Our answer is that the Hizbullah model of 2006 is very different to the Hizbullah model of 1996," Sheybani said.
However, he denied that Iran armed the organization, and hinted that the organization could be using weapons left behind by Israel in Lebanon.
"After the withdrawal of Israel in 2000, a lot of weapons arrived in the hands of Hizbullah. And therefore there is the possibility that the sound of the missiles exploding in Haifa are known to Israelis: These missiles were left there from 2000," he claimed.
'Beginning of the end of Israel'
Addressing the possibility that the IDF may conquer parts of Lebanon, Sheybani said: "In this war there is the chance that Israel could enter Lebanese soil and hold parts of it – that's certainly a possibility. But the problem is that if someone enters it's not sure he will be allowed to leave," the ambassador said.
Sheybani repeated the claim of the Hizbullah Chief Hassan Nasrallah according to which no Hizbullah member was killed in IDF attacks, and added that there nothing to be happy about in reports of the IDF battle in Maroun al-Ras.
Sheybani's comments came a day after Hizbullah representative in Iran, Hussein Sif al-Din, threatened that his organization planned to increase its attacks in Israel, until "no place in Israel will be safe."
At a conference in Tehran, attended also by Hamas and Palestinian Authority representatives, al-Din threatened that "this war will be remembered as the beginning of the end of Israel."