For the first time since the Syrian uprising began, Tehran acknowledges that it sent there its men. A close ally of the Alawite regime, Iran says it is a non-military support, but does not preclude sending troops to support the Assad regime.
"Because of the special situation in Lebanon and Syria, some members of the Quds Force who are responsible for foreign operations are in these countries. This does not mean that we have a military presence there, "said Sunday General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Revolutionary Guards, during a press conference. According to him, Iran dispatched advisors to Damascus and Beirut.
On another issue, Jafari, said that "nothing will remain" of Israel if the Jewish state launched a military operation against Tehran's controversial nuclear program. He also said that oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz will be in jeopardy if a war broke out between Iran and the United States. Iranian authorities have threatened to close the Strait, through which a fifth of the world's oil is transported.
According to Jafari, Tehran's response to any attack would begin near the Israeli border. Iran maintains close ties with armed groups in Gaza and Lebanon.
"Our response to Israel is clear: I do not think anything will remain of Israel" in case of an attack against Iran, he said. "Given the narrowness of the territory of Israel and its vulnerability to a massive volume of Iranian missiles, I do not think any place in Israel will be safe," he added.
But he said he did not believe that Israel would attack alone. And if the United States launches an attack, he suggested that Iran could respond by firing missiles against U.S. bases in the Gulf region.
The head of the Revolutionary Guards also said that if attacked, Iran will no longer be linked to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which allows inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit nuclear sites. But, he stressed, that does not mean that Iran would make a nuclear weapon.