Israeli envoy to UN: Iran has 82,000 fighters in Syria

Danon called on the Security Council to prevent Iran from turning Syria into “the largest military base in the world.”

By: World Israel News Staff

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Danny Danon addressed the Security Council on Thursday and provided new information about Iran’s attempt to turn “Syria into the largest military base in the world.”

“We are releasing this classified information because it is vital for the world to understand that if we turn a blind eye in Syria, the Iranian threat will only grow,” Danon told the Council.

“Today, there are 82,000 fighters under Iran’s authority in Syria. This includes 3,000 members of Iran’s infamous Revolutionary Guard, 9,000 fighters from Iran’s proxy Hezbollah and 10,000 members of violent Shia militias recruited from across the Middle East including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In addition, Iran also directly commands 60,000 local Syrian fighters,” he continued.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is entrusted with Iran’s foreign espionage and sabotage activities.

Danon warned the UNSC about Iran’s intentions in Syria.

“Why does Iran keep recruiting these extremists to be killed in the battlefields of Syria? Why is Iran building bases to house these fighters for the long run? The answer is clear. To further destabilize Syria and our region. To further threaten Israel, and to further terrorize the entire free world,” Danon stated.

Iran deal funds terror

Addressing the consequences of the sanctions relief which accompanied the nuclear agreement with Iran, Danon cautioned that “since the signing of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] in 2015, Iran has only increased its military spending. In 2014, 17 percent of Iran’s government spending went to its military expenditure. This past year, in 2017, this number ballooned to 22 percent. That’s 23 billion dollars spent on missiles, arms and other weapons of war.”

Danon concluded by calling on the Security Council to fully implement Resolution 2231 and ensure that the international community not “allow Iran to continue funding worldwide terror, pursue its dangerous internal arms buildup, and grow its military presence abroad.”

UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the Iran nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany), explicitly prohibits the launching of tests and activity on ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused Iran on Monday of not respecting part of a UN resolution that calls on Tehran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. “We will also have the opportunity of underlining our firmness on Iran’s compliance with United Nations Resolution 2231, which limits access to ballistic capacity and which Iran does not respect,” he stated.

Israel has long warned about the involvement of its arch enemy Iran, including its terror proxy, Hezbollah, in Syria. Issues of concern include a “Shiite corridor” with land links from Iran to Lebanon, providing free movement for terrorists and weapons across the region.

In an interview with the BBC in November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran wanted to bring its air force and submarines, as well as its military divisions, very close to Israel.

Asked whether Israel would use military force to stop such developments, Netanyahu told the BBC: “You know, the more we’re prepared to stop it, the less likely we’ll have to resort to much greater things. There is a principle I very much adhere to, which is to nip bad things in the bud.”