While Iran’s political and military leaders are not exactly known for making measured, reserved or unprovocative remarks, stating that “Israel could be blown up in a single operation,” would be considered an aggressive comment even for Iranians.
At the same time, Iranian national documents and philosophies do specifically call for the destruction of Israel. Thus, these comments from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami align with the kind of well-known, consistent anti-Israel rhetoric coming from Iran.
Hossein’s comments were also filled with hints and suggestions that his forces may have been behind a recent explosion at an Israeli plant for advanced weapons, according to a news report from Al-Monitor. Israel, the report specifies, said the blast hurt no one and took place during a “routine test.”
Hossein, made many references to Israel’s supposed “vulnerabilities” to “domino-style” attacks, according to the report. While easily dismissed as hyperbole in many respects, Hossein’s remarks as quoted by the report introduce a few interesting things to consider. For instance, Israeli is without question very experienced when it comes to the realm of missile defense given its recent history, as it deploys systems such as Iron Dome and other kinds of ground-based systems. This reality might seem to make Israeli less vulnerable to Iran’s large arsenal of ballistic missiles, some of which potentially able to reach Israel should they be maneuvered within range. Israel is about one thousand miles from Iran, a range which is just at the outer limits of the striking distance of most long-range ballistic missiles.
The distance between the two countries speaks to another, even potentially more pressing issue, such as how Iran could actually get close enough to the Israeli border to launch an attack. Iranian ground forces would need to travel through Iraq or Turkey, or somehow cross the Persian Gulf area to deploy on the other side of the Arabian Peninsula. Any approaching Iranian force would, it goes without saying, be highly vulnerable to Israeli air attack. Therefore, apart from the concerning prospect of Iran at some point having nuclear weapons, there do not appear to be a wide sphere of ways Iran might actually be able to attack Israel with any measure of success.
Unless, of course, Iran were to employ terrorist tactics, something by no means beyond the realm of possibility. In fact, small, covert hit-and-run types of terror attacks may be the kind of thing Hossein was referring to by hinting that several targeted strikes could bring down Israel. Added to this equation is the well-known fact that Iran has been, and likely continues to be, a state sponsor of terrorist organizations. However, just as is likely the case with air defenses, Israel is certainly experienced and likely adept at counterterrorism tactics for obvious reasons.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.