Photo Credit: Google Maps
Map of Middle East, with Tehran marked in red

Iran’s military Deputy Chief of Staff, Brig.-Gen. Mehdi Rabbani announced Monday that the Islamic Republic’s “defensive depth has stretched to the Mediterranean Sea” and its front “has extended to the borders of the Zionist regime (of Israel,” according to the state-run FARS News Agency.

The statement, made during an event in the Tehran suburb of Shahriar, was a confirmation that despite the best efforts of the Israeli Defense Forces, Iran has succeeded in its efforts to build a land bridge across which its forces can ostensibly march through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to reach the Mediterranean, and various parts of northern Israel, should it choose.

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Likewise, it has taken little effort for the Iranians to smuggle weapons, technology and cash into Gaza, where both Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations have benefited from the largesse of Tehran.

“Today, Hezbollah and Hamas have gained great power and do not need our help anymore; all of [Israel’s] locations are within reach of the Lebanese Hezbollah,” Rabbani said.

Less than two weeks ago, a delegation of top-ranking Hamas leaders traveled to Tehran to meet with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

READ: Hamas in Iran: ‘Resistance Missiles Can Hit Anywhere in Israeli-Occupied Palestine’

Hamas second-in-command, Saleh al-Arouri headed the delegation, and called the terrorist group Iran’s “first line of defense.” Speaking during a meeting with Kamal Kharazi, head of Iran’s Strategic Council of Foreign Relations, Al-Arouri added that Hamas is “on the same path as the Islamic Republic – the path of battling the Zionist entity and the arrogant ones.”

Rabbani claimed that for the next decade at least, “no regional or trans-regional country will be able to counter or fight against the Islamic Republic of Iran in ground warfare. Our missile power also deters any regional and extra-regional acts of aggression, and the range of our missiles is constantly increasing.”

Israel acknowledged carrying out at least 200 air strikes against Iranian military targets in Syria over the course of last year. Recently there have been reports of several mysterious air strikes believed to have targeted Iranian ballistic weapons held by local militias as well; those, too, have been attributed to the Israeli Air Force, although the IDF has made no comment in response.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.