WASHINGTON (JTA) — An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander reportedly ordered Hezbollah not to attack Israel.
"Today, the Zionist regime is in total isolation and is facing a serious legitimacy crisis," Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ special Quds Force, is quoted as telling Hassan Nasrallah, the commander of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist group.
"Any attack would depict them as victims and us as unjust aggressors, which would mobilize the public sympathy for them," Suleimani is quoted as saying in remarks translated by Ali Alfoneh, an Iran expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington-based think tank. "This would harm us."
Alfoneh, writing Wednesday on the American Enterprise Institute blog, says the report originally appeared this week on the website of Botia News, a regional outlet affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, and was picked up by other news outlets affiliated with the Guards.
The affiliated outlets have sinced scrubbed the report and the Revolutionary Guards now describes it as a "Zionist lie," but Alfoneh says the original Botia item is still extant.
Hezbollah has rearmed since its 2006 war with Israel and its missiles reportedly can reach all of Israel.
Tensions between Israel and Iran are on the rise as Iran appears to be closer to having the ability to manufacture a nuclear weapon, according to Western experts. Iran denies that it is seeking a nuclear weapon.