Ayatollah Khamenei. Image Credit: Tasnim News, CC BY 4.0.

A spokesman for Iran’s armed forces, brigadier-general Abolfazl Shekarchi, called for the destruction of Israel in an interview with a regime-friendly media outlet at the weekend.

“We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimetre. We want to destroy Zionism in the world”, Shekarchi told the Iranian Students News Agency.

The antisemitic remarks came just days before renewed talks on a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities, which restarted in Vienna on Monday.

The US, UK and other world powers are looking to relieve economic sanctions on Tehran in return for temporary restrictions on its atomic programme.

The Iranian general also condemned Bahrain and the UAE for normalising diplomatic ties with Israel via what he called the “intolerable” Abraham Accords.

“Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and other countries considered as Muslims, for us they are part of the Zionist regime and is very important”, he said.

The Abraham Accords emerged in summer 2020 against a backdrop of tensions between moderate Arab states and Iran’s coalition of extremist satellites.

Shekarchi has previously voiced his belief that Iran could “level Haifa and Tel Aviv in the shortest possible time”.

Other prominent Iranians, including Ayatollah Khamenei and former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have likewise called for Israel’s destruction on a number of occasions.