Israel's prime minister lashed out at Iran Wednesday after a hard-line militia leader said the country's destruction was “non-negotiable.”
In a televised statement Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu added that that ongoing nuclear talks with Tehran risked endangering Israel.
"Yesterday an Iranian general brazenly declared and I quote: 'Israel's destruction is non-negotiable.' But evidently giving Iran's murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable," he said. "This is unconscionable."
Iran’s News Analysis Kasebeamin earlier quoted Commander Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the head of the Basij paramilitary forces, as saying: "The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable and the freedom of Palestine is one of our highest priorities."
Naghdi does not hold a position in the government. The Basij is a powerful volunteer militia under the Revolutionary Guards and loyal to Iran’s most powerful man, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It is called on to suppress internal dissent and to fight when the country is at war.
Khamenei has supported the nuclear deal being negotiated in Switzerland, while also warning that the United States cannot be trusted. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a longtime supporter of the Palestinians, and does not recognize the State of Israel.
The latest of round of saber-rattling comes as Iran and six world powers struggle to reach an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program after an initial deadline passed on Tuesday. Israel criticizes the deal it says is on the table, and says Iran must be made to stop supporting militancy throughout the region.
“The concessions offered to Iran in Lausanne would ensure a bad deal that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and the peace of the world,” Netanyahu said. “A better deal would significantly roll back Iran's nuclear infrastructure. A better deal would link the eventual lifting of the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to a change in Iran's behavior."